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

  • Karen Eggleston
  • Yu-Chu Shen
  • Joseph Lau
  • Christopher H. Schmid
  • Jia Chan

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%u2019 analytic methods. Moreover, conventional methods of meta-analytic synthesis should be applied with great caution given the considerable overlap among studied hospitals.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12241.

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Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Karen Eggleston & Yu-Chu Shen & Joseph Lau & Christopher H. Schmid & Jia Chan, 2008. "Hospital ownership and quality of care: what explains the different results in the literature?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(12), pages 1345-1362.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12241
Note: HC
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Sloan, Frank A., 2000. "Not-for-profit ownership and hospital behavior," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1141-1174 Elsevier.
  2. Yu-Chu Shen & Karen Eggleston & Joseph Lau & Christopher Schmid, 2005. "Hospital Ownership and Financial Performance: A Quantitative Research Review," NBER Working Papers 11662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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