What is the Difference Between a Public and Private Hospital?

A hospital can be a public or private institution, depending on how it is governed. If you would like to work in a healthcare setting and you are trying to differentiate between each of the hospitals that you can apply to, it is important to learn how care standards and settings can vary based on how the facility is managed and how it is controlled. Once you are able to identify the pros and cons of working in each of the hospitals, you will be equipped to decide if you want to be employed by a body controlled privately or publicly.

How Hospitals that Are Governed Publicly Operate

Any hospital that is said to be governed publicly is fully funded by the government and operates solely off of money that is collected from taxpayers to fund healthcare initiatives. Since the equipment, salaries, construction of new facilities, and prescriptions is paid for from a budget set by the local government, administrators will stay on top of spending and offer a limited set of services. Since costs tend to be lower in publicly operated hospitals, it is the best option for those who have restrictive insurance or who are not wealthy and able to pay for their healthcare out of pocket.

How Hospitals that Are Governed Privately Operate

Privately owned hospitals are funded and operated by the owner which is typically a group or an individual person. The owner of the facility will be in charge of setting the budget, managing finances, and ensuring compliance with strict municipal code, state law and federal regulations. The owner will also recruit staff, draft contracts with doctors, purchase the equipment, invest in maintenance, and control the services provided.

Private hospitals tend to be the preferred choice because they are not as limited in their budget and are known for quality service in which patients receive individual care and attention. Patients also do not have to spend long periods waiting to be seen because the number of patients per doctor is low. The cost of services in these settings tends to be much higher and attracts more a more affluent set of patients.

Which Setting Would Be Best to Work in?

There are a variety of factors to consider when you are trying to decide where to start a career. You have to consider your priorities and what you value the most before you choose between a publicly or privately run facility. If you want to help a certain population of society who is in need of quality care, you may want to stay with a public facility that cannot refuse service to any patient. If you, however, would prefer a smaller work setting where you are expected to provide excellent service in an upscale environment, publicly run institutions are ideal.

Choosing which type of health system you would like to be employed in can be intimidating when you are on a path to graduation. You should review the demand and potential salaries for professionals in each setting and then you can choose whether a public or a private hospital is the right work environment for you.

Related Resource: What Are the Top 3 Challenges Facing Hospital Administrators?