Antecedents of Changes in Hospital Conversions

Inquiry--Spring 2003
Vol. 40, No. 1
Spring 2003
Sloan, F.A., Ostermann, J., and C.J. Conover
pp. 39-56

This study assesses the determinants of conversions in hospital ownership from 1986 through 1996. To place such changes in context, we also analyze causes of hospital mergers and closures, which are often alternatives to hospital ownership conversion. A consistent result from our analysis is that an important antecedent of ownership conversions is a low profit margin. Conversions from private nonprofit or government ownership to for-profit status are preceded by chronically low margins and high debt-to-asset ratios. By contrast, conversions from for-profit ownership occur quickly following declines in margins. Many mergers seem motivated by a desire to increase market power--a consideration not evident for conversions.

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