Prepared to Care

The 24/7 Standby Role of America's Full Service Hospitals

Full-service hospitals are vital to meeting the health care needs of the communities they serve by providing a wide range of acute care and diagnostic services, supporting public health needs, and offering a myriad of other community services to promote the health and well being of the community.  While many of these roles also are performed by other health care providers, three are unique to hospitals:

  • 24/7 Access to Care:  The provision of health care services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7), 365 days a year;
  • The Safety Net Role:  Caring for all patients who seek emergency care regardless of ability to pay;
  • Disaster Readiness and Response:  Ensuring that staff and facilities are prepared to care for victims of large-scale accidents, natural disasters, epidemics and terrorist actions.

These roles – which comprise the “standby” role for this report – often are taken for granted, are not explicitly funded but represent an essential component of our nation’s health and public safety infrastructure.  This report explores the standby role and its critical importance to the health, well being and safety of our communities; analyzes the nature of demand and the basic and specialized resources required to meet it; outlines the capacity and financing pressures hospitals face in maintaining the standby role; and frames critical economic and policy questions that must be addressed to ensure future hospital standby capacity can meet the growing health and public safety challenges.  This report was commissioned by the American Hospital Association and prepared by The Chartis Group.

PowerPoint Presentations for Member Calls on 8/29/2006 and 9/12/2006

For ease in downloading documents, please save them to your desktop before opening.

In order to assist hospital leaders in communicating these three distinct roles to help advance our advocacy priorities, we have developed the following PowerPoint presentations for your use.



In addition, it is important that we continue to tell our story to our communities, to educate them about the important role that community hospitals play each and every day.  Therefore as part of our Community Connections initiative, we have developed additional materials for use in and around your community.  Each can be tailored with your own data and specific community examples to help tell your story.  Visit the community connection website to learn more.


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