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Opinion: Healthcare and profits, a poor mix

The New York Times, January 9, 2013
Patients entering church-affiliated nonprofit homes were prescribed drugs roughly as often as those entering profit-making "proprietary" institutions. But patients in proprietary homes received, on average, more than four times the dose of patients at nonprofits. Writing about his colleagues' research in his 1988 book "The Nonprofit Economy," the economist Burton Weisbrod provided a straightforward explanation: "differences in the pursuit of profit." Sedatives are cheap, Mr. Weisbrod noted. "Less expensive than, say, giving special attention to more active patients who need to be kept busy." This behavior was hardly surprising. Hospitals run for profit are also less likely than nonprofit and government-run institutions to offer services like home health care and psychiatric emergency care, which are not as profitable as open-heart surgery.