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The effect of physician board membership on uncompensated care provision

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Abstract:

Previous studies indicate that nonprofit and for-profit hospitals provide comparable levels of uncompensated care, when taking into account their sizes. This evidence suggests that for-profit hospitals extract some indirect benefit when providing uncompensated care. Our article investigates how physician board membership affects uncompensated care provision. With data for hospitals in California from 1997 to 2010, we estimate a fixed-effect model where uncompensated care is a function of physician board membership, other board attributes, as well as hospital characteristics. Our results indicate that physician board membership in for-profit hospitals relates positively with uncompensated care provision. Prior evidence, such as Goldstein and Ward (2004) and Molinari et al. (1995), has shown that involving physicians in strategic decisions improves hospitals’ financial performance. Our results reinforce the notion that having physicians in leadership or strategic positions benefits for-profit hospitals. In these hospitals, physicians seem to understand the strategic component of providing uncompensated care, possibly due to their closer assessment of patients’ needs.

Keywords: G30; I10; L21; board of directors; hospitals; physicians; uncompensated care

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2014.899671

Affiliations: Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos - UNISINOS, Avenida Unisinos, 950, São Leopoldo, RS, 93022000, Brazil

Publication date: July 3, 2014

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