Document Type : Perspective
IQ Healthcare, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, The Hague, The Netherlands
This perspective argues that for-profit hospitals will be heavily affected by epidemic crises, including the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Policy-makers should be aware that for-profit hospitals in particular are likely to face financial distress. The suspension of all non-urgent elective surgery and the relegation of market-based mechanisms that determines the allocation and compensation of care puts the financial state of these hospitals at serious risk. We identify three organisational factors that determine which hospitals might be most affected (ie, care-portfolio, size and whether it is private equity [PE]-owned). In addition, we analyse contextual factors that could explain the impact of financial distress among for-profit hospitals on the wider healthcare system.