Hospitals are complex organisations accounting for most of total health expenditure. They play a critical role in providing care to patients with high levels of need. A key policy concern is that patients receive high quality care. Policymakers have attempted to influence hospital quality in different ways. This chapter focuses on three key policy levers: the extent to which hospital competition and higher hospital tariffs (of the DRG type) can stimulate quality, and whether non-profit hospitals provide higher or lower quality than for-profit ones. The chapter outlines key methodological challenges and selectively reviews the main findings from the literature. While several studies suggest that hospital competition reduces mortality rates for heart attack cases when hospital tariffs are fixed (under a DRG system), at this stage is unclear whether the effect holds across a range of quality indicators. Moreover, the limited literature on hospital mergers tends to suggest that hospital quality does not change following a merger. Finally, whether non-profit hospitals provide higher or lower quality varies across regions and institutional arrangements. The economic theory suggests several mechanisms with opposite effects on quality. To guide policy, future work needs to further unpack the various mechanisms through which these three key policy issues affect hospitals incentives.
I thank two anonymous reviewers and Matthew Skellern for helpful comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of this chapter.
Siciliani, L. (2018), "Hospital Economics: The Effect of Competition, Tariffs and Non-profit Status on Quality", Health Econometrics (Contributions to Economic Analysis, Vol. 294), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 263-283. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0573-855520180000294012Download as .RIS
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