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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Where You Retire Can Affect Your Health
10/31/2005

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Ask just about anyone over 40, “What do you want to do when you retire,” and they’ll probably say something like “relax and enjoy life.” That’s what most of us hope and plan for. As people get closer to retirement, considerations typically become more practical, such as “is there a good hospital nearby?”

For many retirees, convenient access to comprehensive health care services is a factor in where they decide to retire and for some very good reasons. People older than 55 utilize health care services at a higher rate and purchase more health care services than younger Americans. For example, in the year 2000 in Texas, people 55 or older represented 31 percent of the population, but accounted for 34 percent of the physician office contacts. And, they accounted for 48 percent of the total cost of physician office visits.

When evaluating a potential retirement spot, find out what full-service hospitals are within easy access of your intended home and what medical specialists practice in the area. Also consider other factors that can affect your health, including:

• Climate and environmental factors

• Access to a range of wellness, diagnostic and treatment services

• Transportation to and from care providers

• Access to social services and pastoral care

All of these can affect a happy, healthy retirement.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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