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Center for Policy Research


The Changing American Hospital in the Twenty-first Century

Ralph W. Muller

March 2003


One is always hesitant to speak about the future. A famous philosopher from New York, Yogi Berra, said "Making predictions is difficult, especially about the future," and the author has some trepidation about doing so now. There is also the difficulty of understanding what really has happened in the past. The author recalls the Bolshevik general in 1917 who said "The future is clear, but the past is very murky." We anticipate the future with more clarity than is justified, even as we disagree on what is happening right now or what happened before. In that vein, the author will describe the role of the American hospital in our health care system, and the challenges it must meet, reviewing first the murky past by summarizing trends that have made hospitals what they are today.

This report is sponsered by The Herbert Lourie Memorial Lecture series, which is jointly sponsored by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the Central New York Community Foundation, Inc. and is administered by the Center for Policy Research and The Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health.

The Center for Policy Research at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University supports policy-relevant research and disseminates knowledge that enables leaders to make informed policy decisions and provide effective solutions to critical challenges in our local region, state, country and across the world.

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