Affordable Access

Merging with for-profits: flawed strategy. Such affiliations benefit neither the Catholic hospital nor society.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Health progress (Saint Louis, Mo.)
Publication Date
Volume
77
Issue
4
Identifiers
PMID: 10159175
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Some Catholic healthcare organizations, seeking new sources of capital, are eyeing mergers with for-profit systems. However, such mergers raise questions about their effects on both the mission of particular Catholic institutions and the well-being of society at large. For-profit organizations are driven by the pursuit of profit. They market ¿products.¿ This pursuit naturally shapes their decision-making rationales, employee relations, and business priorities. Not for-profits, on the other hand, provide ¿public goods¿--goods that for-profits either will not provide or will not provide adequately--and this mission shapes their priorities, decision making, and employee relations differently. What is more, economic power is unequal between the two kinds of organization. Since not-for profits are seeking capital when they merge with for profits, they usually do so from a position of relative disadvantage. When conflicts arise, the for-profit partner generally prevails. The not-for-profit partner then finds itself, not merged with, but acquired by the for-profit. Throughout U.S. history, not-for-profits have performed a function neglected by both government and private companies. Now, in the 1990s, the whole social welfare framework of our society is under attack. A moral-political crisis questions the very concept of the voluntary sector. If Catholic healthcare organizations allow themselves to be swallowed by for-profits, who will care for the voiceless and the vulnerable?

Statistics

Seen <100 times