A hospital network is a network or group of hospitals that work together to coordinate and deliver a broad spectrum of services to their community. A hospital system or health care system is 2 or more hospitals owned, sponsored, or contract managed by a central organization.[1]


The Catholic Church established a hospital system in Medieval Europe that vastly improves from the merely reciprocal hospitality of the Greeks and family-based obligations of the Romans. These hospitals were established to cater to "particular social groups marginalized by poverty, sickness, and age," according to historian of hospitals, Guenter Risse.[2]

Benefits and controversiesEdit

To avoid financial losses due to shrinking reimbursements and rising costs as well as improving quality of care and avoid duplication of services, hospitals may consolidate certain services at one hospital. However, patients may need to travel farther if those services are no longer offered at their local hospital.[3]


  1. ^ Fast Facts on US Hospitals. American Hospital Association. Accessed September 2, 2007
  2. ^ Risse, Guenter B (April 1999). Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals. Oxford University Press. p. 59. ISBN 0-19-505523-3.
  3. ^ Summit's maternity facility to be folded into Alta Bates Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine September 16, 2001 ANG News Online. Accessed September 3, 2007.