Does community-governed nonprofit primary care improve access to services? Cross-sectional survey of practice characteristics

Int J Health Serv. 2005;35(3):465-78. doi: 10.2190/K6KV-K8EL-C7N9-J2AU.


This study compared community-governed nonprofit and for-profit primary care practices in New Zealand to test two hypotheses: (1) nonprofits reduce financial and cultural barriers to access; and (2) nonprofits do not differ from for-profits in equipment, services, service planning, and quality management. Data were obtained from a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of GPs. Practices were categorized by ownership status: private community-governed nonprofit or private for-profit. Community-governed nonprofits charged lower patient fees per visit and employed more Maori and Pacific Island staff, thus reducing financial and cultural barriers to access compared with for-profits. Nonprofits provided a different range of services and were less likely to have specific items of equipment; they were more likely to have written policies on quality management, complaints, and critical events, and to carry out locality service planning and community needs assessments. The findings support the shift to nonprofit community governance occurring in New Zealand and elsewhere.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services / economics
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Fees, Medical
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Services, Indigenous / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • New Zealand
  • Organizations, Nonprofit*
  • Ownership / classification
  • Physicians, Family / economics
  • Physicians, Family / organization & administration
  • Physicians, Family / supply & distribution*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*