Comparing Hospital Quality at For-Profit and Not-for-Profit Hospitals

37 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2000 Last revised: 13 Oct 2010

See all articles by Mark B. McClellan

Mark B. McClellan

Brookings Institution; Council of Economic Advisors; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Douglas Staiger

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 1999

Abstract

Do not-for-profit hospitals provide better care than for-profit hospitals? We compare patient outcomes in for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals between 1984 and 1994 using a new method for estimating differences across hospitals that yields far more accurate estimates of hospital quality than previously available. We find that, on average, for-profit hospitals have higher mortality among elderly patients with heart disease, and that this difference has grown over the last decade. However, much of the difference appears to be associated with the location of for-profit hospitals. Within specific markets, for-profit ownership appears if anything to be associated with better quality care. Moreover, the small average difference in mortality between for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals masks an enormous amount of variation in mortality within each of these ownership types. Overall, these results suggest that factors other than for-profit status per se may be the main determinants of quality of care in hospitals.

Suggested Citation

McClellan, Mark B. and Staiger, Douglas, Comparing Hospital Quality at For-Profit and Not-for-Profit Hospitals (August 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7324. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=197072

Mark B. McClellan (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Council of Economic Advisors ( email )

Eisenhower Executive Office Building
17th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20502
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Douglas Staiger

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-643-2979 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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