Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Research shows for-profit hospitals cost more and deliver worse care than not-for-profit hospitals:


TORONTO, June 7, 2004 – The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) called on federal leadership hopefuls today to end the deliberation and debate about private for-profit health services after a landmark study found for-profit hospitals cost more.

The study, conducted by McMaster University health researchers and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, is a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing how much care cost in private for-profit versus private not-for-profit hospitals in the United States. The researchers reached a clear-cut conclusion: care at for-profit hospitals cost 19 per cent more – the equivalent of $7.2 billion Cdn each year – than not-for-profit hospitals.

“RNAO commends the researchers for their excellent and timely analysis,” said RNAO president Joan Lesmond. “With the federal election just 21 days away, the results should inform the national debate about the future of health care in Canada and put an end to the discussion around for-profit and not-for-profit health-care delivery.”

“This landmark study provides further proof that no evidence exists to support an expansion of for-profit health-care delivery,” said RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun. “Surely this study which reveals a $7.2 billion price tag will curb – or kill – the appetite for private, for-profit health-care delivery.” Combined with previous studies that revealed a higher death rate in for-profit hospitals, the evidence strongly supports a policy of not-for-profit health-care delivery, she added.

“We all know what happens when shareholders and investors call the shots in health-care delivery – we will pay more and see a decline in the quality of care. And the consequences, as the researchers’ previous study shows, are dire: fewer highly skilled personnel like registered nurses, cutting patient care corners to accommodate the profit margin, and inevitably, higher death rates,” said Grinspun.

“Canadians are more committed than ever to universal, publicly funded health care that does not profit from a person’s illness. They continue to identify Medicare and access to registered nurses and other health-care providers as their top priorities,” said Lesmond.

The association is calling on governments to heed the study’s findings, listen to the same chorus of voices that informed Roy Romanow’s Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, and steer clear of for-profit health care.

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.


For more information, please contact:
Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO
Phone: 416-408-5605
Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext.209
Cell: 647-406-5605