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Risk adjustment and hospital cost-based resource allocation, with an application to El Salvador


  • Fiedler, John L.
  • Wight, Jonathan B.
  • Schmidt, Robert M.


Ignorance about the costs, case loads and case mixes of different hospitals within the public health system constitutes an important obstacle to reforming health care spending in many developing countries. National (tertiary) hospitals generally receive significantly larger budgets, per patient, than lower-level (district) hospitals. One reason for these differential allocations is the widely held belief that national hospitals treat persons with more difficult illnesses and persons who are more severely ill than do other, non-national, hospitals. This belief is but a presumption and one that warrants investigation. This paper analyzes expenditures among public hospitals in El Salvador over a 12-year period to address this question. While controlling for patient morbidity, outputs and other characteristics, district hospitals are found to be substantially underfunded relative to national hospitals. Four policy options to redress this situation are examined.

Suggested Citation

  • Fiedler, John L. & Wight, Jonathan B. & Schmidt, Robert M., 1999. "Risk adjustment and hospital cost-based resource allocation, with an application to El Salvador," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 197-212, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:48:y:1999:i:2:p:197-212

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