Author Credentials

Dilip Nair, MD, Freddie Vaughan, MD, Katherine Bennett, MD


Inter-hospital transfers, acute care, rural


Health Services Research



Objective: To document the characteristics of acute care patient transfers from rural West Virginia hospitals.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Hospital patient charts in rural West Virginia hospitals

Design: We examined 40 acute care patient transfers from rural West Virginia hospitals for patients’ age, gender, race and primary health insurance, the diagnosis and desired specialty service. We compared patients who were not transferred. For each transfer we collected data on the reason for transfer, the availability of beds of the appropriate acuity level as well as the availability of the relevant specialty at the time of transfer.

Principal Findings: Transferred patients were more likely than non-transferred patients to be younger, severely ill and diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome. The relevant specialist was available at the transferring hospital in 6 out of 30 transfers. Beds were available in all cases.

Conclusions: This pilot study provides an agenda for future research into the decision to transfer patients for acute care from rural hospitals.