Approximately one fourth of the inpatients in the United States are found in hospitals of less than 100 beds. These hospitals are small individually, but they have a vital role in the total health picture. Even the smallest hospital must be a very complete unit. Although the hospital may be small in terms of bed size, it still must maintain most of the many services found in the largest general hospitals.
The importance of the smaller hospital to the nation can be expressed in many different ways. One is economic, ie, the annual payroll of the small hospitals which totals approximately one-third billion dollars. The total expenditure approaches 587 million dollars. Another relates to numbers of patients treated in small hospitals; almost 5.5 million patients are admitted a year and some 835,000 births are recorded annually. The role of the small hospital in meeting the emergency needs of the general