Improved health care and sophisticated medical technology have improved the outcome for many people who suffer a critical illness. One group of people who have benefited are ventilator-dependent individuals (VDIs), as evidenced by the increased number of children and adults requiring long-term mechanical ventilation. Significant changes in this nation’s health care reimbursement structure have made a substantial negative impact on the availability of traditional long-term care options for these patients. In response, a new health care environment has emerged. Now available are specialty hospitals providing general hospital services, which allow for long-term acute care intervention. The Vencor Corporation has successfully established this innovative care environment in a cost-effective manner. There are currently nine Vencor hospitals specializing in providing long-term acute care to VDIs and other catastrophically ill patients

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