Facoltà di scienze economiche

Effects of ownership, subsidization and teaching activities on hospital costs in Switzerland

Farsi, Mehdi ; Filippini, Massimo

This paper explores the cost structure of Swiss hospitals, focusing on differences due to teaching activities and those across different ownership and subsidization types. A stochastic total cost frontier with a Cobb-Douglas functional form has been estimated for a panel of 150 general hospitals over the six-year period from 1998 and 2003. Inpatient cases adjusted by DRG cost weights and... Plus

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    Summary
    This paper explores the cost structure of Swiss hospitals, focusing on differences due to teaching activities and those across different ownership and subsidization types. A stochastic total cost frontier with a Cobb-Douglas functional form has been estimated for a panel of 150 general hospitals over the six-year period from 1998 and 2003. Inpatient cases adjusted by DRG cost weights and ambulatory revenues are considered as two separate outputs. The adopted econometric specification allows for unobserved heterogeneity across hospitals. The results indicate that the time-invariant unobserved factors could account for considerable cost differences that could be only partly due to inefficiency. The results suggest that teaching activities are an important cost driving factor and hospitals that have a broader range of specialization are relatively more costly. The excess costs of university hospitals can be explained by more extensive teaching activities as well as the relatively high quality of medical units. However, even after controlling for such differences university hospitals have shown a relatively low cost-efficiency especially in the first two or three years of the sample period. The analysis does not provide any evidence of significant efficiency differences across ownership and subsidization categories.