Journal of Rural Health 12:225-234, 1996.
This study of firms offering mobile hospital technology to rural hospitals in eight northwestern states found that several permanently parked computerized tomography (CT) units were found where mobile routes had atrophied due to the purchase of fixed units by former mobile CT hospital clients. Based on a criterion of 140 scans per month per unit as a threshold of profitable production, units owned by larger firms (those that operate five or more units) were more likely to be profitable than units owned by smaller firms (71% versus 20%, P = 0.03). A substantial number of rural hospitals lose money on mobile CT due to low Medicare reimbursement. In some areas, mobile hospital technology is a highly competitive industry. Evidence was found that several firms compete in some geographic areas and that some firms have lost hospital clients to competing vendors.