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Finance versus costs for teaching hospitals in Spain
López, Guillem; Sáez, Marc
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
In this paper we analyse the observed systematic differences incosts for teaching hospitals (THhenceforth) in Spain. Concernhas been voiced regarding the existence of a bias in thefinancing of TH s has been raised once prospective budgets arein the arena for hospital finance, and claims for adjusting totake into account the legitimate extra costs of teaching onhospital expenditure are well grounded. We focus on theestimation of the impact of teaching status on average cost. Weused a version of a multiproduct hospital cost function takinginto account some relevant factors from which to derive theobserved differences. We assume that the relationship betweenthe explanatory and the dependent variables follows a flexibleform for each of the explanatory variables. We also model theunderlying covariance structure of the data. We assumed twoqualitatively different sources of variation: random effects andserial correlation. Random variation refers to both general levelvariation (through the random intercept) and the variationspecifically related to teaching status. We postulate that theimpact of the random effects is predominant over the impact ofthe serial correlation effects. The model is estimated byrestricted maximum likelihood. Our results show that costs are 9%higher (15% in the case of median costs) in teaching than innon-teaching hospitals. That is, teaching status legitimatelyexplains no more than half of the observed difference in actualcosts. The impact on costs of the teaching factor depends on thenumber of residents, with an increase of 51.11% per resident forhospitals with fewer than 204 residents (third quartile of thenumber of residents) and 41.84% for hospitals with more than 204residents. In addition, the estimated dispersion is higher amongteaching hospitals. As a result, due to the considerable observedheterogeneity, results should be interpreted with caution. From apolicy making point of view, we conclude that since a higherrelative burden for medical training is under public hospitalcommand, an explicit adjustment to the extra costs that theteaching factor imposes on hospital finance is needed, beforehospital competition for inpatient services takes place.
15-09-2005
Labour, Public, Development and Health Economics
cost functions
semi-parametric estimation
regression analysis
teaching hospitals
prospective payments
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