What Is a Hospital?


A hospital is a place where people are treated for a medical condition. Hospitals have specialized medical staff, auxiliary healthcare staff, and medical equipment. The primary function of a hospital is to provide treatment to patients. There are many different types of hospitals. Hospitals may be a single building or a complex facility that serves multiple purposes.

The concept of a hospital was developed in the Middle Ages. Hospitals were initially run by founding religious orders and staffed by volunteers. In the 1540s, the dissolution of monasteries in England resulted in the endowment of hospitals by the crown. The first secular-supported hospital was Bedlam, which opened in London. In the Americas, the oldest hospital is the Hospital San Nicolas de Bari in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, founded in 1514 and is today recognized by UNESCO as the oldest in the Americas.

Hospitals are complex institutions, and the latest technologies and medical research have increased their diagnostic and treatment possibilities. As a result, hospitals need more highly trained staff to provide quality care. Hospitals also need specialized equipment and facilities for advanced treatments. As a result, hospitals are more expensive to operate. This has become a key concern for health service managers.

The AHA defines a hospital as an institution that admits inpatients. A hospital may be a general hospital or a specialty hospital. A hospital may have more than one type of license, and some states require psychiatric hospitals to obtain a hospital license. It is important to check which state’s laws govern hospitals.

General hospitals, also known as acute-care hospitals, have a variety of departments that deal with different types of disease. Typically, they also contain an emergency department and a trauma center. General hospitals can be found in larger cities, and some even have their own ambulance services. Some hospitals are also considered district hospitals, as they serve as a major medical facility in their area. They typically have large numbers of beds dedicated to critical and intensive care.

Other organizations may also qualify as hospitals, and some state health departments maintain lists of licensed hospitals on their websites. It is important to know whether an organization is licensed before undergoing treatment there. Often, specialists will request a statement from the organization to attest that it is properly licensed under state law. It is also essential to note the date of the visit.

Depending on your income, you may be able to get discounts at certain hospitals. In addition, some hospitals will take into account your savings and property. If you earn less than 150% of the federal poverty level, you may be eligible for a discount at some hospitals. In addition, many hospitals will offer installment payment plans.

The FTC is taking a close look at vertical integration between hospitals and medical groups. New ideas such as bundled payments, value-based purchasing, and patient-centered medical homes are being investigated as competitive strategies. The FTC and DOJ have also developed joint antitrust guidelines for the ACO Shared Savings Program. However, the interpretation of these rules remains unclear. In addition, the Supreme Court has ruled that government-owned hospitals are not exempt from antitrust regulations when they acquire local for-profit hospitals.