Hospital services make up the core of a hospital’s offerings. They are often shaped by the needs or wishes of its major users to make the hospital a one-stop or core institution of its local community or medical network. Hospitals are institutions comprising basic services and personnel—usually departments of medicine and surgery—that administer clinical and other services for specific diseases and conditions, as well as emergency services. Hospital services cover a range of medical offerings from basic health care necessities or training and research for major medical school centers to services designed by an industry-owned network of such institutions as health maintenance organizations (HMOs). The mix of services that a hospital may offer depends almost entirely upon its basic mission(s) or objective(s).
There are three basic types of hospitals in the United States: proprietary (for-profit) hospitals; nonprofit hospitals; and charity- or government-supported hospitals. The services within these institutions vary considerably, but are usually organized around the basic mission(s) or objective (s) of the institution:
- Proprietary hospitals. For-profit hospitals include both general and specialized hospitals, usually as part of a healthcare network like Humana or HCA, which may be corporately owned. The main objective of proprietary hospitals is to make a profit from the services provided.
- Teaching or community hospitals. These are hospitals that serve several purposes: they provide patients for the training or research of interns and residents; they also offer services to patients who are unable to pay for services, while attempting to maintain profitability. Nonprofit centers like the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) or the Mayo Clinics combine service, teaching, and profitability without being owned by a corporation or private owner.
- Government-supported hospitals. This group includes tax-supported hospitals for counties, communities and cities with voluntary hospitals (community or charity hospitals) run by a board of citizen administrators who serve without pay. The main objective of this type of hospital is to provide health care for a community or geographic region