For-Profit and Not-For-Profit Hospitals

Hospitals have the responsibility of ensuring the health of a people that they serve by offering medical services sought by sick people. However, the services are not freely offered and patients who walk into the facilities for treatment must pay the bills for the services they get. Nevertheless, the hospital ownership can affect the timing for payment and the amount that a person pays for a service. This paper examines which kind of hospital between for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals provides a higher level of charitable services to its respective community.

According to my opinion not-for-profit hospitals provide a higher level of charitable services to the community than for-profit hospitals. One major reason is that even though all hospitals have a responsibility of administering a stabilizing care to patients who need it, not-for-profit hospitals have an obligation to continue treating the patient regardless of their health insurance or financial status (Cutler & Berndt, 2001). This is unlike the for-profit hospitals that can withhold a service to the patient once stabilizing care has been administered and the hospital management believes that the patient cannot afford to pay the extra services. In most cases, for-profit hospitals will consider whether the patient has a health insurance or is in a position to pay for the services before accepting to treat them. As such, Sloan (2001) and Horwitz (2005) noted that for-profit hospitals can turn away patients who are unable to meet the costs of the services that they require. This is in contrast with not-for-profit hospitals which must admit the patient and give the necessary services without necessarily considering the health insurance or their financial status.

The second reason is that not-for-profit hospitals offer their services at reasonable costs than for-profit hospitals (Cutler & Berndt, 2001). This is in spite of the fact that they offer equally better services like their counterparts. The cost of health care has been escalating and access to better health care services is a crucial issue for many people. With the costs of drugs and equipments being high, not-for-profit ensures that the patients can afford health care services in hospital whenever they need them (Herzlinger, 2010; Sloan, 2001).  This therefore means that not-for-profit hospitals subsidize the actual costs of their services so that everyone who needs the health care services can afford them. Essentially, not-for-profit hospitals charge less for their medical procedures as a way of serving the community. This does not translate to less quality services compared to for-profit hospitals. A study by Keep Our Hospitals Healthy indicated that despite the higher charges in for-profit hospitals, not-for-profit hospitals seem to perform better in medical services and this indicate that their charity work to the community is committal and almost perfect.

The third reason is that for-profit hospitals have a moral and legal obligation to the investors who must receive dividends at the end of the year and therefore their major focus is on the making of profit rather than on the patient and the community at large (Horwitz, 2005). On the other hand, not-for-profit hospitals focus on the promotion of health services in the community where they operate by supporting community health clinics and care centers. Horwitz (2005) argued that for-profit hospitals cannot focus on community health clinics because they may not be profitable in accordance to their aims of making profit or may not reflect the general objectives of those hospitals. Cutler & Berndt (2001) argued that this means that for-profit hospitals can only do so much as far as promotion of community health services is concerned by offering services to people who come to their centers. Not-for-profit hospitals go out to meet people in their community with an aim of bringing their services closer to people.

In conclusion, not-for-profit hospitals provide a higher level of charitable services to its respective community than for-profit hospitals. This is evident in the quality of services and the amount of money that they charge their patients. It is also evident in the efforts that not-for-profit hospitals put in to bring health care services closer to people through affordable community health clinics.

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