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Fewer hospitals can treat children

Pediatric care is disappearing from community hospitals, according to a study published in Pediatrics and featured by Reuters.

Looking at data from more than 252 million hospital encounters, researchers found interhospital pediatric transfers increased approximately 25 percent from 2006 to 2011 in four of the most populous states: California, Florida, Massachusetts and New York.

However, transfers did not increase because more children were experiencing complex conditions. In fact, the data showed pediatric admissions declined by 9.3 percent over the period studied. The researchers found the biggest increase in transfers were for fairly common conditions, like appendicitis, skin infections, asthma, broken legs and tonsillitis.

These findings demonstrate that pediatric care increasingly relies on referral centers. This could mean pediatric patients are receiving more specialized care and potentially better outcomes, but the study doesn't indicate if that is the case, according to the Reuters report. The findings do suggest public health plans and disaster preparedness plans should take this increased referral rate into account, the authors wrote.

Read more here.


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