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October 8, 2008

Comparisons of Safety-Net and Non–Safety-Net Hospitals

JAMA. 2008;300(14):1650-1652. doi:10.1001/jama.300.14.1651-b

To the Editor: I believe that the study by Dr Werner and colleagues1 contains inaccuracies that trivialize the effect community hospitals have on the US health care system. First, the authors state that “[c]are for poor and underserved patients in the United States is currently concentrated at a small number of hospitals. . . . ”The supporting reference for this claim studied only elderly black patients.2 According to 2000 US census data, black individuals represent only 12.3% of the total US population.3 It is not appropriate to generalize the care received by a minority of patients to that received by a majority of US patients.