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A Population Ecology Study of Hospital Closures in Florida Between 1965 and 1995

Author: RONALD NYHAN, MARY BETH FERRANDO, and DONALD CLARE
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 24 No. 3

The population ecology literature argues that at the
macro level, organizations experience various liabilities to their
continued survival. This study examined the effect of size, age,
and niche density on the closure of acute care hospitals in Florida
between 1965 and 1999.
The primary data for the study was created using
information about Florida hospitals found in the annual reports of
the American Hospital Association (n = 427). Using the
technique of survival analysis, it was found that newer hospitals
and hospitals originally established in organizationally dense areas
(five or more hospitals within a five mile radius) experienced a
significantly greater incidence of closure than did those which
were older or founded in less dense areas. Small hospitals (<100
beds) were also shown to be significantly more likely to close
than large ones (>300 beds), as were hospitals located in
organizationally sparse areas (no other hospitals in 5 mile radius)
compared to those in organizationally dense areas (>5 hospitals
in 5 mile radius).
The study concludes with an examination of the policy
and management implications of the results.

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