The authors of the New England Journal of Medicine study on measuring efficiency ("For-profits take a hit," March 17, p. 2) certainly betrayed their bias against tightly run hospitals.
Efficiency is using the least resources for the greatest results. Those hospitals having the highest total costs will be more "efficient" if the relative share of administration is lower. With this measure, the hospital with relatively high clinical costs will be more efficient than the facility with relatively low clinical costs.
Also, the hospital that delivers ineffective but slightly cheaper care will look more efficient than a more expensive but highly effective provider.
We still have a way to go before we can measure hospital costs and the quality of care.
W. SETH CRONE
Healthcare investment banking
Chase Securities of Texas