Quote of the Day
The more a man rises in leadership the more responsible he is not just for what he says but also for what people hear.
Because of COVID-19, I am currently sheltering-in-place at my cabin in northern Minnesota. I was reading news reports of the USNS Comfort docking in New York City to provide the city with another 1000 bed hospital. I had no idea as to the average size of a hospital and decided to take a quick look at the number of beds in hospitals around the United States using a histogram.
Fortunately, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) makes an enormous amount of US infrastructure data available online at the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (HIFLD) website. On this webpage, you can find details on all the hospitals in the US. As always, there are issues with the data. For example, while it only has bed counts for 6919 hospitals out of the 7581 hospitals in its list. My graph will filter out the hospitals that have no bed count data, which are listed in the file as having -999 beds. For those who are interested in looking at my Excel workbook, it is available here.
The government database lists the following types of hospitals in the US:
- Chronic Disease
- Critical Access (rural hospitals)
- General Acute Care
- Long-Term Care
I am only interested in the General Acute Care and Critical Access types of hospitals, of which there are 5263. These are the hospitals that would bear the brunt of caring for COVID-19 victims. Figure 2 shows the number of US hospitals by bed count.
Here is what Figure 2 tells me that:
- USNS Comfort's 1000 beds put her in the top 0.6% of hospitals in the US by bed count. It is a major hospital by any measure.
- The bulk of US hospitals (~71%) have less than 200 beds.
- 90% of US hospitals have less than 400 beds.
I should mention that the USNS Comfort has a sister ship called the USNS Mercy, which is the lead ship of the Mercy class of hospital ships. Both ships are converted supertankers originally built to service the trans-Alaska pipeline.