Micro-Hospitals Growing in Popularity

Micro-hospitals are finding their niche in the health care system, says U.S. News & World Report. The facilities provide about 10 beds for short stays and can treat some of the less emergent emergency services usually done at large hospitals.

They’re popular; the magazine describes them as a “trend” that has surfaced in about 19 states. And it’s happening at an unusual time. “One of the most noteworthy aspects of this trend is that it’s unfolding in the midst of the biggest upheaval in health care in decades with health reform proposals swirling in Washington and hospitals and other facilities merging into ever-expanding systems,” the magazine reports.

There are critics, as well. Just how much experience can a doctor at a micro-hospital obtain? Physicians who perform more procedures are more likely to be proficient, according to studies.

Leah Binder, president and CEO of the LeapFrog Group, tells the magazine that, “they may be perfectly capable of doing the procedure so long as they do enough of them….”

Micro-hospitals are often built by major hospitals or physician group practices in order to fill gaps in care in specific locations.

Patient volume differs depending on the location. “Typically, we see 25 to 80 patients a day in our emergency departments,” Richard Bonnin, the communications director for Emerus, tells the magazine. Emerus operates more than 20 micro-hospitals across the country. “Of those who receive inpatient care, the average length of stay is two days.”

Source: U.S. News & World Report