The purpose of the study was to determine whether regional differences in hospital use parallel regional morbidity differences. It showed that they do not.
We used the 1975 U.S. Health Interview Survey Metropolitan sample under age 65 to analyze the nonobstetric hospital use and the reported morbidity in the four U.S. regions. The West sample used less hospital care than those in other regions, even though other regions reported less morbidity. We indirectly standardized hospital use by age-sex specific morbidity. The standardized ratio of actual to expected hospital nights in the West was half that of the North Central Region. There were smaller regional differences in surgical hospital use than for nonsurgical hospital use. In 1975 the total U.S. metropolitan population under age 65 would have used one third fewer nonobstetric hospital nights if it had followed Western practices.
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