For-Profit Hospitals Cost More and Have Higher Death Rates
In this pair of studies from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, a distinguished team of researchers led by Dr. P.J. Devereaux at McMaster University (Ontario) performed large scale meta-analyses on the existing research concerning mortality rates and payments for care at private for-profit vs. nonprofit hospitals. Since private for-profit hospitals are virtually nonexistent in Canada, the research examined U.S. for-profit hospitals. Taken together, the studies reviewed 23 academic papers (15 on mortality rates, 8 on payments) examining more than 26,000 hospitals.
After all the research was reviewed, the evidence against for-profit hospitals was conclusive: for-profits had 19 percent higher costs and 2 percent higher death rates. The authors attribute these defects directly to the for-profit nature of the hospitals: The necessity to generate revenues to satisfy investors, the significantly higher administrative costs and the large executive bonuses, they say, "result in limitations of care that adversely affect patient outcomes."