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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."

Read "Payments at For-Profit and Non-Profit Hospitals" (pdf)

Read "Mortality Rates of For-Profit and Non-Profit Hospitals" (pdf)