The structure and characteristics of rural hospital consortia.

Ira S Moscovice, J. Johnson, M. Finch, C. Grogan, J. Kralewski

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Abstract

Rural hospital consortia are relatively new organizations that have been developed to help improve the viability of participating hospitals. This paper describes the characteristics of rural hospital consortia in the United States and develops and tests a measurement model of their underlying structure. The measurement model, which characterized consortia structure in terms of degree of member commitment, degree of complexity, scale of operations, and degree of formalization, provided a good fit to the sample data. Most consortia appear to have followed a relatively conservative course that involved the development of programs that had limited sensitivity and financial risk for individual hospitals. This suggests that rural hospital consortia may not become a model for major structural change in the rural health care system. Future research should examine the evolution of rural hospital consortia from an organizational life cycle perspective.

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