The determinants of hospital cost: a cost-volume-profit analysis of health services in the occupied territories: Palestine

Mustafa Z Younis, Samer Jaber, Pamela C Smith, Michael Hartmann, Moye Bongyu
International Journal of Pharmacy Practice 2010, 18 (3): 167-73

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to examine the unit costs of a multi-service hospital in Palestine for the period 2005-2007. We investigate the cost structure of the Rafidya Hospital located in Nablus city, for both inpatient and outpatient departments.

METHODS: This study uses cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis, also known as breakeven analysis. CVP analysis requires examining total costs, along with fixed and variable costs. CVP analysis illuminates how changes in assumptions about cost behaviour and the relevant range in which those assumptions are valid affect the relationships among revenues, variable costs and fixed costs at various production levels.

KEY FINDINGS: For the hospital of interest, we find that fixed costs account for 70% of total costs, and variable costs were 30% of total costs. Inpatient departments accounted for 86% of total costs, and outpatient departments were 14% of total costs. Results of the breakeven analysis illustrate that several departments charge sufficient fees to cover all unit costs.

CONCLUSIONS: Results provide useful information about unit cost based on four categories: (1) unit cost per admission of each department, (2) unit cost per patient day of each department, (3) unit cost per admission with annual capital cost of each department and (4) unit cost per patient day with annual capital cost. Our results provide hospital cost information that can be used by decision-makers to provide and expand healthcare services, in an effort to increase sustainability and profitability. The use of cost analysis by administrators and regulators will improve the quality of financial information, as well as enhance the efficient use of scarce resources.

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