Urban V Rural Hospitals: Common Surgeries Are Often Safer & Cheaper In Rural Hospitals, Study Says

By Daniel Joseph, Parent Herald May 18, 05:10 am
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If a patient is looking for a safer and cheaper choice for common surgeries, where should he go? Should he make a visit to rural hospitals or urban hospitals? According to a new study, common surgeries are often safer and more affordable in rural hospitals.

"This study gives credence to what rural surgeons long suspected -- that well-done rural surgery is safe and cost-effective," study author Dr. Tyler Hughes stated in a University of Michigan press release via Health Day. Dr. Hughes is a surgeon in a rural hospital in Kansas called McPherson Hospital and an American Board of Surgery director.

The research involved reviewing records of a total of 1.6 million surgeries --- 828 from rural hospitals and 3,600 from bigger hospitals in the urban area. The research team then compared the results of Medicare patients who underwent one of the four most common surgeries: colon surgery, hernia repair, gallbladder removal and appendix removal.

The findings show that surgery patients at rural hospitals have a lower rate of developing a major health complication after the operation compared to patients at urban hospitals. However, no difference in the risk of death within the first month of surgery was found between urban and rural hospitals.

Other benefits of going to rural hospitals include lower costs and better accessibility compared to urban hospitals. The study findings show that Medicare spent $1,400 more on patients for the same operation at an urban hospital than a rural hospital.

But are there advantages to going to urban hospitals instead of rural hospitals for surgeries? Urban hospitals have better manpower, resources and facilities to handle complex surgical operations, according to the University of Michigan website. Examples of complex surgical operations include open heart surgery, intestine transplant, liver transplant, cancer operations and brain surgery, Medical Daily shares.

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