News | March 16, 2008

New Poll Shows Americans Support Allowing Physicians to Own, Operate Hospitals

March 17, 2008 - The American public believes doctors and physicians would do a good job running hospitals in their community and they want doctors to make decisions about patient care and how hospitals are run, according to a new poll conducted by Lake Research Partners.

The survey also says Americans believe doctors should be allowed to own hospitals where they work and that Congress ought to vote to allow this practice to continue.

A recent Lake Research Partners' national survey shows doctors and physicians have a high level of credibility with the American public. Physicians and doctors are the top group Americans have confidence in when it comes to running hospitals in their community. Two-thirds (67 percent) of the American public believes doctors and physicians would do an excellent or good job (18 percent excellent) running a hospital in their community, while just one in four (23 percent) think they would do a just fair or poor job. Comparatively, only 29 percent of the public thinks a health insurance company would do an excellent or good job, and only 34 percent think a tax-exempt corporation would do an excellent or good job.

The survey also showed Americans believe physicians and surgeons ought to be making decisions about how patients receive care in hospitals, and about how hospitals are being run. Physicians and surgeons are the choice of 39 percent, followed by hospital administrators (28 percent), nurses (15 percent), and community health officials (10 percent).

In a debate, Americans support physician owned hospitals by a 12-point margin. About 50 percent of adults think doctors should be allowed to own and operate the hospitals in which they work, while 38 percent feel they should be prevented from doing so. Poll results showed support for physician-owned hospitals extends across demographic groups including men, women, Republicans, Democrats, younger Americans, and older Americans, as well as across all geographical regions.

Fifty percent of respondents said they want their member of Congress to vote to allow physicians to own and operate hospitals, while 40 percent want them to vote to prohibit physician owned hospitals, the survey showed.

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