The Risks of For-Profit Community Care

With the sale of the Shouldice Clinic to a health care conglomerate it is useful to review some of the literature comparing for-profit hospitals to non-profit hospitals. The results show that:

1)      there is a higher risk of death in for-profit hospitals, http://www.cmaj.ca/content/166/11/1399.full :

2)      private for-profit hospitals result in higher payments for care than private not-for-profit hospitals,  http://www.cmaj.ca/content/170/12/1817.full, and:

3)      on average, not-for-profit nursing homes deliver higher quality care than do for-profit nursing homes,  http://www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b2732.abstract.

These studies stand-out because of their very large sample sizes.  All of the results are based on multiple peer-reviewed studies ending up with sample sizes of dozens to thousands of hospitals and hundreds of thousands to millions of patients.  While there are individual studies with contrary results the strong trends are clear: deaths and costs increase in for-profit hospitals and in for-profit nursing homes quality decreases. This is not a presumption of problems with private hospitals, as Andre Picard writing in the Globe and Mail recently stated, but a well-researched fact.

While studies with similar breadth have not been done on community health clinics and primary care services, the hospital data is so strongly in favour of public non-profit provision it does beg the question, why experiment with for-profit community services?

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Explore posts in the same categories: Funding-Cost For-profit Delivery, Ontario Government Policy, Quality

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