New Evidence on Hospital Profitability by Payer Group and the Effects of Payer Generosity

Published in: International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, v. 4, no. 3, Sep. 2004, p. 231-246

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Bernard Friedman, Neeraj Sood, Kelly Engstrom, Diane McKenzie

Read More

Access further information on this document at www.springerlink.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This study provides (a) new estimates of U.S. hospital profitability by payer group, controlling for hospital characteristics, and (b) evidence about the intensity of care for particular diseases associated with the generosity of the patient's payer and other payers at the same hospital. The conceptual framework is a variant of the well-known model of a local monopolist selling in a segmented market. Effects of two kinds of regulation are considered. The data are taken from hospital accounting reports in four states in FY2000, and detailed discharge summaries from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The profitability of inpatient care for privately insured patients was found to be about 4% less than for Medicare, but 14% higher than for Medicaid and only 9% higher than for self-pay patients. The authors found significant direct associations but not external effects of payer generosity on the intensity of care.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.