For-profit or not-for-profit: Does it matter?

The number of Americans who believe for-profit hospitals provide better care and customer responsiveness than their not-for-profit counterparts has dropped dramatically over the past few months, to the point where quality is rated roughly the same in the two hospital types, according to a Kaiser/Harvard Health News Index survey. Whether the decline is a coincidental blip or the start of a trend remains to be seen, but the loss of faith in for-profit providers comes in the wake of increasing media scrutiny of for-profits, notably Columbia/HCA. News reports aside, those surveyed still believe for-profit institutions are more efficient, while not-for-profits continue to enjoy a reputation for costing customers less.

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