Hospital-ownership status and cesareans in the United States: The effect of for-profit hospitals.
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BACKGROUND: Given the increasing proportion of United States hospitals that are for-profit, we examined whether women who give birth in for-profit hospitals are more likely to have cesareans than women who give birth in not-for-profit hospitals. We hypothesized that cesareans are more likely to occur in for-profit hospitals because of the organizational emphasis on short-term financial indicators, including payment of shareholder dividends. METHODS: We used logistic regression and difference of means tests to analyze data from the Listening to Mothers III survey of women who gave birth in the United States in 2011 and 2012. RESULTS: Controlling for patient-level characteristics, we found that the odds of a woman's having a cesarean were two times higher in for-profit hospitals than in not-for-profit hospitals. We also found for-profit hospitals were significantly more likely to be members of multihospital systems and to have fewer full-time registered nurses and staff members per hospital bed. CONCLUSION: This research suggests that women who give birth in for-profit hospitals are more likely to have cesareans than women who give birth in not-for-profit hospitals. This information is important to women when deciding where to give birth. Knowing which hospital characteristics are associated with a greater likelihood of cesarean is helpful since hospital cesarean rates may be difficult to find. These findings are also informative for obstetric professionals, who can implement improvement initiatives to decrease cesarean rates and improve the overall quality of care for childbearing women in the United States.