A public hospital or government hospital is a hospital which is owned by a government and receives government funding. This type of hospital provides medical care free of charge, the cost of which is covered by the funding the hospital receives.
In Australia, public hospitals are operated and funded by each individual state's health department. The federal government also contributes funding. Services in public hospitals for all Australian citizens and permanent residents are fully subsidized by the federal government's Medicare Universal Healthcare program.
Emergency Departments are almost exclusively found in public hospitals. Private hospitals rarely operate emergency departments, and patients treated at these private facilities are billed for care. Some costs, however (pathology, X-ray) may qualify for billing under Medicare.
Where patients hold private health insurance, after initial treatment by a public hospital's emergency department, the patient has the option of being transferred to a private hospital.
In Canada all hospitals are funded through Medicare, Canada's publicly funded universal health insurance system. Hospitals in Canada treat all Canadian citizens and permanent residents regardless of their age, income, or social status.
In Norway, all public hospitals are funded from the national budget and run by four Regional Health Authorities (RHA) owned by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. In addition to the public hospitals, a few privately owned health clinics are operating. The four Regional Health Authorities are: Northern Norway Regional Health Authority, Central Norway Regional Health Authority, Western Norway Regional Health Authority, and South-eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. All citizens are eligible for treatment free of charge in the public hospital system. According to the The Patients' Rights Act, all citizens have the right to Free Hospital Choices.
In the UK public hospitals provide health care free at the point of use for the patient. Private health care is used by less than 8 percent of the population. The UK system is known as the National Health Service (NHS) and has been funded from general taxation since 1948.
In the United States, two thirds of all urban hospitals are non-profit. The remaining third is split between for-profit and public. The urban public hospitals are often associated with medical schools. The largest public hospital system in America is the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, which is associated with the New York University School of Medicine.
In the U.S., public hospitals receive significant funding from local, state, and/or federal governments. In addition, they may charge Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurers for the care of patients. Poor uninsured patients receive their care for free. Public hospitals, especially in urban areas, have a high concentration of uncompensated care and graduate medical education as compared to all other American hospitals. Public hospitals in America are closing at a much faster rate than hospitals overall. The number of public hospitals in major suburbs declined 27% (134 to 98) from 1996 to 2002. It is thought that the increase in uninsured has drained public hospitals to near bankruptcy. Non-profit rural hospitals were disproportionately represented with high numbers of patients with uncompensated care. Public and non-profit rural hospitals form a large part of the health care safety net for the uninsured and poor underinsured in the U.S.
For-profit hospitals were more likely to provide profitable medical services and less likely to provide medical services that were relatively unprofitable. Government or public hospitals were more likely to offer relatively unprofitable medical services. Not-for-profit hospitals often fell in the middle between public and for-profit hospitals in the types of medical services they provided. For-profit hospitals were quicker to respond to changes in profitability of medical services than the other two types of hospitals.
In India, public hospitals (called Government Hospitals) provide health care free at the point of use for any Indian citizen. These are usually individual state funded. However, hospitals funded by the central (federal) government also exist. State government hospitals are run by the state (local) government and may be dispensaries, peripheral health centers, rural hospital, district hospitals or medical college hospitals (hospitals with affiliated medical college). In many states (like Tamil Nadu) the hospital bill is entirely footed by the state government with patient not having to pay anything for treatment. However, other hospitals will charge nominal amounts for admission to special rooms and for medical and surgical consumables. From 2 Oct 2011 Rajasthan state government started a unique scheme in public health care history. All patients visiting government health care institutions are provided all essential drugs, surgical and sutures at free of cost under the chief minister flagship scheme named Mukhyamantri Nihshulk Dava Yojna "MNDY". From 07 April 2013 the state government also launch another flagship scheme toward public health care "Free Diagnosis Scheme". Under this scheme patient are getting 57 type of diagnostics (Pathology, Microbiology, Radiology and Cardiology). Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation (RMSC) is the nodal agency to procure, manage supply and monitor both the flagship schemes in the entire state.
- Government of Canada, Health Canada. "Canada's Health Care System (Medicare) - Health Canada" (landing page). Retrieved 2011-07-11.
- "Norwegian National Budget Web Portal". Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- "Norway's Regional Health Authorities info". Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- "South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority info". Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- "The Act of 2 July 1999 No. 63 relating to Patients’ Rights (the Patients’ Rights Act)". Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- "Free Hospital Choice Norway". Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- (Horwitz, 2005)
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- Horwitz J.R. (2005). "Making Profits And Providing Care: Comparing Nonprofit, For-Profit, And Government Hospitals" (Abstract). Health Affairs 24 (3): 790–801. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.24.3.790. PMID 15886174. Retrieved 2007-05-14.