Hospital Ownership and Quality of Care: What Explains the Different Results in the Literature?

Health Economics
Vol. 17, No. 12
January 11, 2008
Eggleston, K., Shen, Y.C., Lau, J., Schmid, C.H., and J. Chan
pp. 1345-62

Does quality of care systematically differ among government-owned, private not-for-profit, and for-profit hospitals? A large empirical literature provides conflicting evidence. Through quantitative review of 46 studies since 1990, we find that several study features that can explain divergent results: analytic methods, disease studied, and data sources. For unprofitable care, how studies handle market competition and regional differences account for substantial variation. Policymakers should be aware that differences in results appear to arise predominantly from differences between studies’ analytic methods. Moreover, conventional methods of meta-analytic synthesis should be applied with great caution given the considerable overlap among studied hospitals.

View full article...