Hospital ownership and preventable adverse events

J Gen Intern Med. 2000 Apr;15(4):211-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2000.07003.x.


Objective: To determine if type of hospital ownership is associated with preventable adverse events.

Design: Medical record review of a random sample of 15,000 nonpsychiatric, non-Veterans Administration hospital discharges in Utah and Colorado in 1992.

Measurements and main results: A two-stage record review process using nurse and physician reviewers was used to detect adverse events. Preventability was then judged by 2 study investigators who were blinded to hospital characteristics. The association among preventable adverse events and hospital ownership was evaluated using logistic regression with nonprofit hospitals as the reference group while controlling for other patient and hospital characteristics. We analyzed 4 hospital ownership categories: nonprofit, for-profit, major teaching government (e.g., county or state ownership), and minor or nonteaching government.

Results: When compared with patients in nonprofit hospitals, multivariate analyses adjusting for other patient and hospital characteristics found that patients in minor or nonteaching government hospitals were more likely to suffer a preventable adverse event of any type (odds ratio [OR] 2.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.45 to 4.20); preventable operative adverse events (OR, 4.85; 95% CI, 2.44 to 9.62); and preventable adverse events due to delayed diagnoses and therapies (OR, 4.27; 95% CI, 1.48 to 12.31). Patients in for-profit hospitals were also more likely to suffer preventable adverse events of any type (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.03 to 2.38); preventable operative adverse events (OR, 2.63; 95% CI, 1.42 to 4.87); and preventable adverse events due to delayed diagnoses and therapies (OR, 4.15; 95% CI, 1. 84 to 9.34). Patients in major teaching government hospitals were less likely to suffer preventable adverse drug events (OR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.89).

Conclusions: Patients in for-profit and minor teaching or nonteaching government-owned hospitals were more likely to suffer several types of preventable adverse events. Further research is needed to determine how these events could be prevented.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorado
  • Hospital Administration*
  • Hospitals, Proprietary
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors*
  • Ownership*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Utah