Church-Owned Not-For-Profit Hospitals No Match for Their Counterparts

Truven Health Analytics has released two papers in response to its annual 100 Top Hospitals® study, which looked at how different types of hospitals compare in certain aspects of health care performance.


In the paper “Hospital Performance Differences by Ownership,” Truven considered hospitals that were (1) non-for-profit, church owned; (2) not-for-profit, other; (3) for-profit, corporation; and (4) government (non-federal). It was found that the not-for-profit, church-run hospitals had shorter lengths of stay for patients, 4.94 days. Other not-for-profits were at 5.11 days, for-profits at 5.08, and government hospitals at 5.17. The church-run hospitals also saw better mortality rates and higher satisfaction overall.

For-profits, however, outperformed the other types with regard to core measures, inpatient expense control, and profits from operations, but saw lower patient satisfaction. Overall, the church-run hospitals scored highest in overall performance, while the government hospitals were lowest.

Size and Teaching Status

The second paper, “Hospital Performance Differences by Size and Teaching Status,” looked at hospital size and teaching status. No one size category appeared to be superior in all respects, but it was found that larger hospitals experience the lowest inpatient and 30-day mortality rates. Medium-sized community hospitals were found to have lower “perception-of-care” scores than the other sizes. Major teaching hospitals saw higher rates of complications and lower patient safety ratings. The reasons for these variations are not readily clear, but could be due to differences in missions and roles of the different size hospitals.