Hospital demand falls, industry groups differ on whether to embrace trend

SURPLUS: With most Rhode Island hospitals experiencing a decline in patients since 2006, and falling demand for inpatient services, the state has a surplus of hospital beds. Shown above is a patient room from The Miriam Hospital in Providence. / COURTESY ­LIFESPAN CORP.
SURPLUS: With most Rhode Island hospitals experiencing a decline in patients since 2006, and falling demand for inpatient services, the state has a surplus of hospital beds. Shown above is a patient room from The Miriam Hospital in Providence, part of the Lifespan hospital network, which has seen a trend-bucking uptick in demand for hospital beds. / COURTESY ­LIFESPAN CORP.
Officials and an expert analysis agree Rhode Island has a hospital-bed surplus coupled with a trend toward diminishing demand for inpatient services, but local groups differ on what that means for state health care, and what action might be necessary as a result. According to a report by The Lewin Group commissioned by the R.I.…

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