Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Should For-Profit Hospitals Be Allowed in New York State?

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

June 28, 2017


Capital Region





New York is one of four states that prohibits for-profit hospitals owned by publicly traded companies from operating in the market.

Over the past seven years, New York State lawmakers have debated changing or eliminating the prohibition on for-profit hospitals. Proponents believe that allowing for-profit hospitals to operate within the State would alleviate the chronic shortage of capital funding for hospitals and bring competition and efficiency to the market. Opponents hold that for-profit hospitals focus too much on short-term profits and weaken institutions serving the poor and other marginalized groups. In 2017, NYHealth awarded the Empire Center for Public Policy a grant to assess whether New York State’s hospital ownership laws should be changed to allow for shareholder-owned, for-profit ownership.

Under this grant, the Empire Center analyzed how the State’s health care system and its consumers would be impacted by this change, with a particular emphasis on people with disabilities, the poor, the uninsured, undocumented immigrants, and other vulnerable groups. Empire Center used publicly available data, peer-reviewed research, and qualitative interviews to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a hospital system served by for-profit facilities versus nonprofit or public hospitals. The project’s findings were used to inform policymakers on whether New York State and its residents would benefit from for-profit investment in health care, in terms of cost, access, and quality of care. The Empire Center published a report outlining recommendations and convened a roundtable to bring together State legislators, health department officials, members of the hospital industry, patient and consumer advocates, and other key stakeholders to discuss and weigh in on the report findings.