The New Jersey all-payer prospective payment system compensates hospitals for charity care and bad debts. This study examines its impact on the provision of care to self-pay patients. Self-pay patients include two types of uninsured individuals: (1) patients who cannot afford to pay their bill and (2) more affluent patients who can afford to pay but who evade collection. Using data for the period 1979–85, the study employed a sample of seventy-nine New Jersey hospitals that entered the all-payer system during the years 1980–82. A regression equation, which included independent variables to control for the community's pool of uninsured residents and the hospital's share of this pool, was estimated for the number of self-pay discharges. The results indicate that the volume of care provided to self-pay patients increased when the New Jersey all-payer system was introduced. The results also show that teaching hospitals and facilities in urban areas discharge a disproportionately large number of self-pay patients. Analysis of the operating margin ratio suggests that the all-payer system helped to restore the financial viability of hospitals that tend to provide larger amounts of services to the uninsured.

You do not currently have access to this content.