“What Do Full Hospitals Really Tell Us About COVID?”
Prof. Ed Richards, who specializes in (among other things) public health law at LSU law school, wrote this on a discussion list I’m on, and kindly agreed to let me repost it here:
This is a comment about Louisiana, although it applies in varying degrees to other states.
If you are a historian of hospitals in the US, or just an old health policy person, you know that post-WWII the federal government subsidized the construction of a lot of hospitals and created the expectation that every small town would have its own hospital. In the 1970s, health economists raised questions about the costs of running hospitals at 40-50% occupancy. This led to the passage of PL 93-641, the health planning act, and the Certificate of Need Program (CON). CON was intended to have community boards vet new hospital beds, etc., with an eye to reducing costs in the community by reducing excess capacity. CON was mostly a bus
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