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Health Aff (Millwood). 1997 Mar-Apr;16(2):9-28.

Public policy issues in nonprofit conversions: an overview.

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  • 1Georgetown University's Institute for Health Care Research and Policy, USA.


Conversions raise two critical policy questions: First, does ownership form (nonprofit or for-profit) make any difference to delivery of health care? Second, when conversions occur, how are charitable assets and purpose preserved? This paper addresses both questions, based on a review of evidence and experience. On the first question we conclude that, overall, nonprofit ownership enhances the potential for community benefit. However, that potential may be better realized by requiring nonprofits to meet minimum community benefit standards and possibly by mitigating pressure on institutions to convert. On the second question, we conclude that more states should take legislative action to establish a formal oversight process for conversions. Without public consideration of how much money to set aside and for what purpose, conversions pose the risk that communities will lose significant services and resources.

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