Dr. David Tataw
Health Services Organization – HSA 500
August 7, 2011
Hospitals and long-term facilities
Hospitals can be defined as a facility that sick or injured persons are given medical treatment. Whereas long-term facilities provide rehabilitative, restorative, or continuous care to persons whom need help with day-to-day activities. Throughout this paper, the difference between non-profit and for-profit hospital will be described, as well as three major trends that have occurred within the hospital sector. Three examples that describe and differentiate the roles of hospitals and nursing homes in providing long-term care will also be evaluated. In addition, the current state of long-term care policy in the United States will be critiqued.
Describe the differences between nonprofit and for profit hospitals. Most nonprofit hospitals were developed for charity and usually through religious orders. However, with a dramatic rise in health care costs since the 1980s, hospitals have increasingly converted to for-profit enterprises (Layne). During the 1980s, the increased health care costs were due to inflation, and new technologies threatening the survival of nonprofit hospitals. Their soul mission was providing health care without regard to a patient's ability to pay. Employers and government, which bear most of the expense for health care in the U.S., pressured medical providers to decrease costs. Hospitals shorten stays, emphasize outpatient services, and become more efficient by collaborating with other health services to provide care (Layne). Nonprofit hospitals accept everyone; they do not refuse treatment and offer many community-based health programs. For-profit hospitals represent a corporate model of health care, which seeks profit first. For-profit hospitals enjoy higher capital, which in return allows them to purchase the latest medical technologies and create state-of-the-art facilities. For-profit health care providers claim they are able to provide better care at lower cost due to their focus on efficiency. However, critics say for-profit hospitals are successful because they tend serve affluent, insured patients and focus on highly lucrative specialties such as cardiology and elective surgery; they avoid typically unprofitable areas such as emergency care, which often is used by poor patients for their basic health needs (Layne). Further, for-profit hospitals' focus on efficiency has raised questions of whether cost-cutting impacts consumers' health. Both nonprofit and for-profit hospitals provide similar services, each faces demands to cut health care costs. For-profit hospitals have a duty to investors in paying dividends and taking the company in an approved direction. Nonprofit hospitals seek to promote community health organizations such as free community health clinics and acute-care centers (Layne). Since for-profit hospitals seek to maximize profits, first it is likely that these less than profitable community programs will not continue as for-profit hospitals continue to buy out nonprofits (Layne). Describe at least three major trends that have occurred within the hospital sector. Multiple trends have occurred within the hospital sectors. One major trend is large hospitals being more prevalent within the East due to the timely trend of building smaller rather than larger facilities. Over the past 25 years, a large number of small hospitals especially in the urban areas have closed because of financial and competitive pressures. The lack of operating a small number of hospital beds also lead to the closing of facilities. Specifying the optimal side of a hospital is particularly difficult given the complexity of services offered on an inpatient basis (Williams, & Torrens, 2008). Another major trend as reflected from the table in the textbook is the decrease in the number of hospital beds from 1.5 million to fewer than 1 million since...