Study: Nonprofit church-owned hospitals better than secular

When it comes to quality and patient satisfaction, nonprofit church-owned hospitals outperform their public and for-profit counterparts, thanks in part to their religious mission, according to study results released this week by Truven Health Analytics.

Researchers evaluated hospital performance by ownership and found patients in nonprofit church-owned hospitals had shorter lengths of stay, better mortality rates, and higher levels of overall satisfaction than those receiving care in for-profits and government-run facilities.

The study showed not-for-profit church-owned hospitals provide more balanced performance and value to their communities. While for-profit hospitals did best in providing lower expenses and higher profits for shareholders, they performed significantly worse than peers on patient satisfaction. Government hospitals, meanwhile, scored the worst in overall performance.

"As healthcare becomes increasingly transparent, performance differences that stem from mission and role considerations, such as not-for-profit church-owned or for-profit, are likely to play an increasingly greater part in consumer decisions," Jean Chenoweth, Truven's senior vice president, said Tuesday in a statement.

Recent research from Northwestern Medicine also looked at hospital ownership and how well hospitals treat emergency department patients for stroke, heart attack and pneumonia. Based on performance data from 2008 to 2010 for nearly 3,000 hospitals, Northwestern researchers found for-profit hospitals had an average performance score of 50, compared with 30 for public hospitals and 35 for nonprofits, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

 To learn more:
- here's the research announcement  
- check out the study (.pdf)