While it is impossible to know whether local residents are worse off without the hospital, one 2009 study by analysts for the RAND Corporation found no adverse impact on quality, and significant cost savings, in the newer models of care.
The study looked at patients in a large Minnesota health plan who received care for sore throats, ear infections and urinary tract infections — common complaints at retail clinics like the ones in drugstores. It found that the cost of care was 30 percent to 40 percent lower in those clinics than in physician’s offices and urgent care centers, and 80 percent lower than in emergency departments, mainly because of lower reimbursement rates and less laboratory testing. It found that the rate of preventive care and overall quality of care was actually worse for patients who patronized emergency rooms for those ailments.
Source: New York Times.