Skip to main content

For-profit hospitals mean more Cesarean births (and that means bigger profits)

Cesarean sections are much more likely to occur in for-profit hospitals than in not for-profit hospitals according to a new study from California Watch.

Skyrocketing C-section rates in the USA are raising concerns about women's health and the medical complications that are associated with C-sections.

Data from  253 hospitals in the state show a big variation in C-section rates. At nonprofit Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Medical Center, the C-section rate was 9 percent. At for-profit Los Angeles Community Hospital, the rate 47 percent. In Riverside County, hospitals just miles apart had dramatically different rates, even though they serve essentially the same population.

Throughout the state, women are 17% more likely to have a C-section in a for-profit hospital.

In California, hospitals can increase their revenue by 82 percent on average by performing a C-section instead of a vaginal birth, according to a 2007 analysis by the Pacific Business Group on Health. The group – a coalition of business, education and government agencies – estimated that average hospital profits on an uncomplicated C-section were $2,240, while profits for a comparable vaginal birth were $1,230.

A spokesman with for-profit hospital chain Tenet Healthcare said California Watch's premise was wrong and that the choice of C-section is made by the patient and doctor without influence by the hospital.  Tenet Healthcare representative Rick Black said “You don’t just come into a hospital and they say, ‘We want to give you a C-section so we can drive up profits.’ ”


To doctors and other health professionals, the results of the California Watch analysis were troubling.  “We take this extremely seriously. The wide variation in C-section rates really is a cause for concern,” said Dr. Jeanne Conry, California district chairwoman of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“If you look at this variation among hospitals, it’s clear we can’t just blame women,” said Debra Bingham, president-elect of Lamaze International, a group that promotes natural birth.

California Watch previously reported  that the state’s maternal death rate has increased dramatically (nearly tripling in the past decade), and researchers are exploring the possible connection to the rise in C-sections during the same time period.

For National Public Radio's story, see this.

dallan@cupe.ca

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.


This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.



Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.







As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…