About Our Regions
Hospital referral regions (HRRs) represent regional health care markets for tertiary medical care that generally requires the services of a major referral center. The regions were defined by determining where patients were referred for major cardiovascular surgical procedures and for neurosurgery. Each hospital service area (HSA) was examined to determine where most of its residents went for these services. The result was the aggregation of the 3,436 hospital service areas into 306 HRRs. Each HRR has at least one city where both major cardiovascular surgical procedures and neurosurgery are performed.
Hospital service areas (HSAs) are local health care markets for hospital care. An HSA is a collection of ZIP codes whose residents receive most of their hospitalizations from the hospitals in that area. HSAs were defined by assigning ZIP codes to the hospital area where the greatest proportion of their Medicare residents were hospitalized. Minor adjustments were made to ensure geographic contiguity. This process resulted in 3,436 HSAs. When these regions were created in the early 1990s, most hospital service areas contained only one hospital. In the intervening years, hospital closures have left some HSAs with no hospital; these HSAs have been maintained as distinct areas in order to preserve the continuity of the database.
Primary care service areas (PCSAs) reflect Medicare patient travel to primary care providers. Each of the 6,542 PCSAs includes a ZIP code area with one or more primary care providers and any contiguous ZIP code areas whose Medicare populations seek the plurality of their primary care from those providers.