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Major Types of Hospitals: Descriptive Essay

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A recent definition of the hospital is an “institution where sick or injured are given medical or surgical care” (Niles, 2018). Hospitals are categorized in many ways. A public hospital is owned by the government, community hospitals are privately owned and are not for profit, a propriety hospital is also privately owned but are called a for-profit business (Niles, 2018).

Public Hospital

Public hospitals are the oldest type of hospital. They are owned by the federal, state, or local government. The hospital is financed by taxes and private donations. They mainly serve the public sector. Patients are customarily from the military and Native American community. The largest public hospital in the United States is the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (Niles, 2018). About 25% of all U.S. hospitals are considered public hospitals. They have a high number of patients because their care is free of charge. Public hospitals had about 33.6 million admissions per year while private hospitals had only about 1.8 million admissions. I can imagine this is due to it being free (Nwazor, 2017). Treatment costs are based on income level. Since public hospitals are financed by the federal government, they are required to give cost-free health care to everyone who needs it. Public hospitals rely a lot on donations to help cover expenses. They accept all patients with or without insurance, lower income, or can’t get medical care anywhere else. The number of patients can be very high because they don’t turn people away. This might mean you might have to wait. A public hospital can be in large metropolitan area or in a rural community. A public hospital is a teaching hospital and therefore vital to the community (Taressa Fraze, 2010). We have several VA clinics near me, but the closest VA hospital system is in Bay Pines, Fl which is up near St Petersburg. It’s about 45 minutes from where I live. The annual 2019 budget for the VA is over $200 billion dollars (Wentling, 2019).

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Community Hospital

Community hospitals are not funded by the government but from the community itself. They are designated as non-federal, short-term hospitals open to the public. They can have general care or have a facility that focuses on specialty care. Special facilities can include obstetrics, gynecology, ENT, and orthopedics. Community hospitals are chiefly financed by donations, religious organizations, research capital, or educational funds (Community Hospital, 2019). They are considered a not-for-profit facility. A not-for-profit hospital mainly invests financially back into the community and not to an investor. Their tax-exempt status requires them to provide community programs. They will also use the revenue to update medical equipment. There are far more community hospitals around the U.S. than public. Out of the close to 6,000 hospitals in the United States, nearly 3,000 are private (Nwazor, 2017). A drawback of private hospitals is they are much more expensive than public. However, the cost could be worth it for several reasons. Since community hospitals are smaller than public hospitals, this gives patient care a higher quality advantage. Doctors can take more time when they have fewer patients. Since community hospitals will re-invest their money back into their facility, they can have more tech-savvy equipment (Nwazor, 2017). AdventHealth is a community hospital located near me. The closest to me is in Tampa, Fl. but there is a total of 45 facilities in the state of Florida. The annual revenue is over $500 million dollars. They are financed by the Adventist church. My favorite is their mission statement, “Extending the healing hands of Christ”. AdventHealth is owned by the Seventh-Day Adventist Hospital System (Community Report 2018, 2018).

Proprietary Hospital

A propriety hospital is also called a for-profit hospital. A for-profit hospital can be owned by a corporation, partners, or an individual. The reason it’s called a for-profit hospital is that revenue is paid to the owners. They are paid in dividends. They do not have a tax-exempt status (Proprietary Hospital Law and Legal Definition, 2019). Since they are not tax-exempt, a propriety hospital must be more careful on their spending. They must pay whatever taxes are required by law. For a billion-dollar industry, this is no small chunk of change (Are Non-Profit or For-Profit Hospitals Better?, 2020). Fundraising, advertising, and marketing are all ways they can increase business. A for-profit hospital can be considered a private institution just like a not-for-profit facility. Unlike a public hospital, a private hospital has the right to refuse to treat someone. Mainly because they know they can’t pay. However, they are required by law and the EMTALA act to stabilize that patient before transferring them to a public hospital (Zibulewsky, 2001). Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, Fl is a propriety hospital. (Blake Medical Center, 2019). Blake Medical Center belongs to HCA Healthcare. They have about 15 hospitals in Florida with an estimated revenue of over $2 billion dollars annually (2019 Community Report: HCA West Florida, 2019). HCA Healthcare is owned by a private investor group. The group includes Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity, and HCA founder Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr (HCA History, 2020).


Hospitals are categorized from public to privately owned. Public hospitals are owned and operated by the government. A privately owned hospital can be owned and operated by a corporation, a group of investors, or just one sole proprietor. A local public hospital is the VA hospital. A local, not-for-profit community hospital is AdventHealth. A local, for-profit propriety hospital is Blake Hospital. Both for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals are considered private. Hospitals focus on treating sick or injured patients regardless of which category they fall into (Niles, 2018).


  1. 2019 Community Report: HCA West Florida. (2019). Retrieved from HCA west Florida:
  2. Are Non-Profit or For-Profit Hospitals Better? (2020, March 29). Retrieved from healthcare management degree guide:
  3. Blake Medical Center. (2019, April 30). Retrieved from American hospital directory :
  4. Community Hospital. (2019, December 17 ). Retrieved from Wikipedia:
  5. Community Report 2018. (2018). Retrieved from advent health :
  6. HCA History. (2020). Retrieved from hca healthcare:
  7. Niles, N. J. (2018). Basics of the u.s. health care system. Burlington: Jones & Barlett Learning.
  8. Nwazor, T. (2017, December 6). Private or public hospitals? 5 things to consider before making your health care choice. Retrieved from Huffpost:
  9. Proprietary Hospital Law and Legal Definition. (2019). Retrieved from us legal:
  10. Taressa Fraze, P. A. (2010, September). Public hospitals in the united states. Retrieved from National center for biotechnology information:
  11. Wentling, N. (2019, March 13). Key veterans groups blast trump’s va budget proposal as falling short of veterans’ needs. Retrieved from Stars and stripes:
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