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Prospects for reform of hospital fees in sub-Saharan Africa: A case study of Niamey National Hospital in Niger

Authors
Disciplines
  • Medicine
  • Political Science

Abstract

Hospital finance in developing countries has attracted increasing attention in recent years as economists and health planners have examined whether financial reforms will make public hospitals more financially autonomous and consequently reduce (or limit the increase in) their share of government health budgets. This paper presents estimates of the effects of some reforms of hospital user fees on total hospital revenue and on the amount of fees paid by patients in various payor categories. The reforms include special fees for non-referred patients and changes in exemptions for some categories of patients and types of care. The estimates show that doubling fees for non-referred patients increases revenue more than charging them prices equal to operating costs, because current fees are not uniformly less than operating costs. Eliminating exemptions can be as important as changing fees. For example, eliminating exemptions for surgery and inpatient diagnostic exams increases the percentage of operating costs recovered by the same amount as doubling prices for non-referred patients in estimates with an elasticity of demand equal to zero.

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