In a letter to the editor published yesterday in the New York Times, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack responds to a recent op-ed piece by Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D., that asks, “Are Hospitals Obsolete?” Pollack writes, “The answer is unequivocally no. In times of disasters, outbreaks and tragedies, communities lean on their hospitals: That fact will never change. Hospitalizations for the flu reached record levels this winter with people flocking to their local hospitals for care, forcing some hospitals to erect tents to care for all who walked through their doors. Hospitals and health systems also cared for people after too many incidents of community violence. Moreover, they will continue to perform sophisticated surgery, diagnostics and therapeutics at the cutting edge of scientific development. This work will always be there and will only grow. At the same time, the real issue is the redefinition of the hospital. Hospitals and health systems are leading the greatest transformation in history. They are working to provide coordinated and convenient care beyond their four walls that is more responsive to patients and communities than ever before, all with a focus on keeping people healthy.”

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