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New survey shows Florida for-profit hospitals provide quality health care for less

in Peter/Top Headlines by

A new survey of health care costs shows that for-profit hospitals in Florida can save patients up to $650 per day compared to either nonprofits or facilities managed by state and local governments.

At one time, a trip to the hospital was a rare occasion. People living in rural, out-of-the-way communities were often treated at home, even for surgery. Hospitals were reserved for the chronically ill.

Times have indeed changed. Nearly every community in America has some form of health care facility, from a small organization with a handful of doctors and support staff to sprawling medical complexes serving thousands of patients.

And there is definitely a need.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 6,000 hospitals in the United States, providing 35.1 million discharges last year. That equates to about 1,200 visits per 10,000 Americans. The number of procedures performed nationwide tops 51.4 million; an average stay is just under five days.

As for emergency department visits, the number rises to 136 million, nearly 45 for every 100 Americans.

Hospitals have become an essential part of every community and neighborhood. Providing such an important public service comes with a price, which can vary based on the type of facility — some supported by the state and local governments, others designated as either nonprofit or for-profit.

The report, published in Becker’s Hospital CFO, shows hospital costs in for-profit hospitals in the United States have become the most cost-effective way to provide quality patient care. The average cost per inpatient day nationwide ranges from $2,346 at a nonprofit hospital; the cost is only $1,798 at a for-profit.

In Florida, choosing a for-profit hospital can save the patient — and insurance companies — as much as $650 per day. The average daily stay at a nonprofit is $2,265; a number that drops to $1,612 at a for-profit facility. For a state/local government hospital, a one-day visit is $2,055, not quite as high as nonprofits, but still higher.

These figures include comparable operating and non-operating expenses incurred in a day of inpatient care.

The numbers illustrate an important fact: for-profit hospitals often have the resources to invest in state-of-the-art equipment while nonprofit and government-run hospitals frequently struggle to find funds necessary to upgrade technology or maintain resources. It’s a simple equation: better equipment translates to improved care.

And when a facility becomes answerable to shareholders and investors, resources are used efficiently, with better results for the consumer — meaning high-quality, affordable health care.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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