This study examined the effect of state community benefit laws and guidelines on the community health orientation and the provision of hospital-based health promotion services in hospitals. The sample included all not-for-profit and investor-owned acute-care hospitals in the United States during the year 2000. Multiple regression procedures were used to test the effect of community benefit laws and type of ownership while controlling for organizational and environmental variables. The results of these procedures indicated that, on average, not-for-profit hospitals in the ten states with community benefit laws/guidelines reported significantly more community health orientation activities than did not-for-profit hospitals in the forty other states. The results of the multiple regression procedures also indicated that, on average, the investor-owned hospitals in the ten states with laws/guidelines reported significantly more community health orientation activities than did the investorowned hospitals in the forty other states. The study found that community benefit laws had the effect of decreasing ownership-related differences in reported community health orientation activities. Further, Levene's test of equality of variance showed that the not-for-profit hospitals in community benefit states exhibited significantly lower variance in the community health orientation activities when compared with the not-for-profit hospitals in non-community benefit states. However, none of the statistical tests supported the hypotheses that community benefit laws compelled or induced hospitals to offer significantly more health promotion services. The study concluded that coercive measures such as community benefit laws were effective in compelling not-for-profit hospitals to report increased community orientation activities, and it also concluded that the mimetic pressures associated with these laws were effective in inducing investor-owned hospitals to report increased community orientation activities.

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