It Is Time to Liberate Hospitals from Profit-Centered Care

The way we pay hospitals is toxic. It rewards, indeed requires, bad behavior from hospital leaders and stifles the better angels of their nature. In our market-driven payment system, hospitals’ success, and even survival, depends on generating profits. Even non-profit hospitals live or die based on profit margins (often labeled “surpluses” in non-profit facilities). Hospitals that lack profits (or the prospect of future profits that can entice lenders or investors) face a grim future. Unable to renovate or expand their original facilities, purchase new equipment, acquire other hospitals, or grow their provider networks, unprofitable hospitals often spiral downward. As one public hospital CEO admonished two of us, “no margin, no mission.” [...] (Springer).

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-018-4448-0