Not-for-Profit Hospitals Outperform Investor-Owned Facilities
Not-for-profit hospitals with the highest nurse-to-patient ratios and the most advanced equipment provide better care in treating congestive heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia than comparable investor-owned facilities, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the Bloomberg/Worcester Telegram reports.
For the study, Bruce Landon of Harvard Medical School analyzed data reported to government and private accreditation agencies.
According to Bloomberg/Telegram, "The research ... rekindles a debate over whether the nation's more than 700 for-profit hospitals offer inferior medical care."
Landon said, "Economists say the only difference is that one type pays taxes, but most people believe it goes a little bit deeper. An investor-owned corporation is accountable to its stockholders, and that is who it is motivated to serve. A nonprofit institution is accountable to its patients." Landon noted that while the difference in quality was not vast, it was consistent across the board.
Nancy Foster, a vice president of the American Hospital Association, said the study does not make clear what is behind the variation in quality.
The Federation of American Hospitals did not dispute the study but said the 2004 figures it used are outdated, Bloomberg/Telegram reports (Goldstein, Bloomberg/Worcester Telegram, 12/12).