Ownership structure and hospital service costs and fees: A decomposition approach

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Managerial and Decision Economics



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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This paper analyzes hospital characteristics that are associated with higher average costs and charges for venipuncture, computed tomography procedures (computerized axial tomography [CAT] scans), and electrocardiograms (EKG). Using data from a Medicare database, our results indicate that higher wages, larger hospital sizes, and greater service quality are associated with higher procedure costs, whereas system membership is generally associated with lower procedure costs. Blinder-type decompositions, which are the main focus of this study, suggest (a) that venipuncture costs are about 17% to 19% lower at proprietary hospitals than at nonprofit or government hospitals, (b) CAT scan costs are about 6% to 12% lower at nonprofit hospitals than at proprietary and government hospitals, and (c) that EKG costs are about 3% lower at proprietary hospitals than at nonprofit or government hospitals. Lastly, large portions of each of these differences are found to be due to both differences in mean values of the hospitals' characteristics by ownership type and differences in the mechanism by which the hospitals' characteristics are transmitted to procedure costs.

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