Conversion of Hospitals from Nonprofit to For-Profit Can Offer Community Benefits

Research on the impact of nonprofit hospital conversions on community benefits

During 1997 and 1998, researchers at Boston University School of Public Health examined the short- and long-term impact that conversions of hospitals from nonprofit to for-profit status have on their communities.

The researchers' main source of information was state-published hospital annual reports for California, Florida and Texas, which provide data on ownership status, operational statistics, financial measures and service availability.

This project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO).

Key Findings

  • Community impact after conversion varied: some hospitals significantly increased the amount of uncompensated care they provided, while others posted decreases of more than 40 percent.

  • In the aftermath of conversions, hospitals shifted the composition of their governing boards, including fewer community representatives and more hospital senior management among the members.