November 14, 2023

Children being increasingly treated at children’s, not general, hospitals

Editor's Note

A new study finds that children are now much more likely to be treated at children’s hospitals concentrated in a few locations as opposed to general hospitals, JAMA Network October 30 reports. This represents a dramatic shift that has taken place over the past 20 years, according to the findings that were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

The researchers, from UNC School of Medicine, analyzed pediatric inpatient discharges from nearly 4,000 hospitals in 48 states across the country between 2000 and 2019–more than 14 million discharges. They found that:

  • annual inpatient discharges decreased by 26.5%
  • discharges from children’s hospitals increased from 58.9% of total discharges in 2000 to 81.8% in 2019
  • there was an increase in the number of children who were transferred to a children’s hospital.

The researchers say that this significant shift in where pediatric patients receive care has important implications for hospital planning and readiness, to ensure that there is high-quality transport and capacity for treatment.

JAMA (healthcare publication) Network logo


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