compare, for profit, not-for-profit, performance



  1. Rotarius, Timothy PhD
  2. Trujillo, Antonio J. PhD
  3. Liberman, Aaron PhD
  4. Ramirez, Bernardo MD


The debate over which health care providers are most capably meeting their responsibilities in serving the public's interest continues unabated, and the comparisons of not-for-profit (NFP) versus for-profit (FP) hospitals remain at the epicenter of the discussion. From the perspective of available factual information, which of the two sides to this debate is correct? This article is part I of a 2-part series on comparing and contrasting the performance records of NFP health care providers with their FP counterparts. Although it is demonstrated that both NFP and FP providers perform virtuous and selfless feats on behalf of America's public, it is also shown that both camps are involved in potentially willful clinical and administrative missteps. Part I contains the background information (eg, legal differences, perspectives on social responsibility, and types of questionable and fraudulent behavior) that is necessary to adequately understand the scope of the comparison issue. Part II offers actual comparisons of the 2 organizational structures using several disparate factors such as specific organizational behaviors, approach to the health care priorities of cost and quality, and business-focused goals of profits, efficiency, and community benefit.