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Does hospital ownership influence hospital referral region health rankings in the United States

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The International Journal of Health Planning and Management

Published online on


Extensive evidence demonstrates that a hospital's organizational ownership structure impacts its overall performance, but little is known concerning the influence of hospital structure on the health of its community. This paper explores the association between US hospital referral region (HRR) health rankings and hospital ownership and performance. Data from the 2016 Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on Local Health System Performance, the American Hospital Association dataset, and the Hospital Value‐Based Purchasing dataset are utilized to conduct a cross‐sectional analysis of 36 quality measures across 306 HRRs. Multivariate regression analysis was used to estimate the association among hospital ownership, system performance measures—access and affordability, prevention and treatment, avoidable hospital use and cost, and healthy lives—and performance as measured by value‐based purchasing total performance scores. We found that indicators of access and affordability, as well as prevention and treatment, were significantly associated across all 3 hospitals' organizational structures. Hospital referral regions with a greater number of not‐for‐profit hospitals demonstrated greater indications of access and affordability, as well as better prevention and treatment rankings than for‐profit and government hospitals. Hospital referral regions with a greater number of government, nonfederal hospitals had worse scores for healthy lives. Furthermore, the greater the total performance scores score, the better the HRR score on prevention and treatment rankings. The greater the per capita income, the better the score across all 4 dimensions. As such, this inquiry supports the assertion that performance of a local health system is dependent on its community's resources of health care delivery entities and their structure.