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titleHospital / Medical Center

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titleThe Guidelines define Hospital / Medical Center as follows:

A building or building complex providing inpatient services for general medical or surgical



  • INDICATORS: Inpatient (overnight) services.

INCLUDES: General hospitals, specialty hospitals (such as children's, cancer, maternity, substance abuse, psychiatric, and rehabilitation hospitals), Veterans Administration hospitals, infirmaries offering inpatient services.

DOES NOT INCLUDE: Psychiatric or behavioral facilities that only provide outpatient services, long‐term care medical centers or nursing homes, walk-in centers or outpatient clinics, imaging centers, medical doctors' offices, rehabilitation centers.

What is a Hospital / Medical Center?
A Hospital / Medical Center is a facility which provides inpatient (overnight) care. In general, these are regulated by state health departments as licensed hospitals.  Common hospital types include critical access, general, long-term care, psychiatric and rehabilitation hospitals.

Where can I find authoritative lists of Hospital / Medical Centers? 
Refer to state health departments for authoritative lists of hospitals in a given state. There are many types of medical facilities, but only those that are listed as hospitals should be included.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs also maintains an authoritative list of their facilities. Only VA Health Care System and VA Medical Centers should be included. Outpatient VA facilities are not included.

A hospital’s individual website is still the best place to find authoritative and current information on a Hospital / Medical Center. Therefore, it is recommended that users confirm the information on these lists by locating the website for each hospital listed.

Check out our Authoritative Sources List for more on the types of sources that are acceptable.

Where should I place a Hospital / Medical Center facility structure point?
Some hospitals have only one building, in which case the point should be placed at the center of this building. Larger hospitals may either have a larger complex building, or consist of several individual buildings on a medical campus. If a hospital has multiple buildings as part of the same campus, place the point at the center of the campus.

For more information on how to identify a Hospital / Medical Center facility, check out the “Aerial Photo Interpretation Part 5: Hospitals” article in our May 2018 Newsletter.