CSDA congratulates Han Liu as our first recipient of the Stewart E. Tolnay Outstanding Graduate Student Research Paper Award!
Dr. Pinka Chatterji
Professor, Department of Economics
University at Albany, SUNY
Friday, September 30
Standish Room, Science Library
Hospital closures have become increasingly common in rural areas of the US, often leaving residents without access to nearby emergency medical care. In this paper, we test whether losing hospital-based emergency department (ED) services is associated with mortality from time-sensitive conditions in rural counties. We use difference-in-difference methods combined with propensity-weighting to improve the comparability of rural counties experiencing ED closures to rural counties that retain ED services. Data come from Vital Statistics death certificate records and the American Hospital Association annual surveys from 2005-2018. We find that ED closures in rural areas are associated with increases in drug overdose deaths. The effect is driven by males aged 15-44 living in Rust Belt states. We also find in rural counties in the Mountain Census Division, a geographically dispersed region, ED closures are associated with increased mortality from acute myocardial infarction (AMI).