Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Letter to the Editor

Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Letter to the Editor

Article excerpt

Dear Editor,

I just finished reading the issue entitled "Not-For-Profit Hospitals: Balancing Business and Benefit" (22:4) and thoroughly enjoyed the perspectives of both primary authors and responding authors to this issue. The need for appropriate business practices within ALL hospitals is paramount given today's economic realities and future uncertainties. What has become blurred over the last 20 years have been the differences between not-for-profit and investor-owned hospitals as both types strive to maintain their "place" in the Healthcare system on behalf of their communities.

A well-run not-for-profit hospital in today's world gets that way because it embraces the business execution skills proven by others to be vital for economic success while also digging deeper and deeper into understanding and solving real community needs. Not for profits have a longer history in solving real community needs and have only lately come around (in many cases, by necessity) to holding people accountable for achieving superior operating and financial results. I worry, however, about the extent to which investor-owned hospitals can successfully maintain their perceived balance between serving quarterly financial projections and solving real community needs. Those that are genuinely trying have a hard time gaining credibility in their communities and that may not be fair, either. As pointed out by these authors, many of the metrics that have formerly distinguished both organizational types have become less dear over time.

During the first 17 years of my career I worked in not-for-profit hospitals, including as CEO, and felt that our organizations' financial success would be assured if we could demonstrate the highest quality of care and commitment to serving the needs of our patients and staff first. …

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