Hospitals: Types, Function & Licensing

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  • 0:04 What Are Hospitals?
  • 0:51 Types of Hospitals
  • 3:15 Licensure
  • 3:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Hospitals are an integral part of the healthcare system in the U.S. as millions of people go to hospitals each year to receive various forms of treatments. This lesson highlights the various types of hospitals in the United States.

What Are Hospitals?

Try this short, two-question pop quiz:

  • How many hospitals are in the U.S.?
  • How many people were admitted to a hospital in 2017?

Take a minute and think it over.

If you answered that there are 5,534 hospitals and there were over 35 million admissions, you're impressively exact in your guess, and more importantly, you'd be correct! Hospitals play an integral role in the healthcare system in the U.S. The main function of a hospital is to provide medical care to patients in need. As you can tell by the very large number of hospital admissions, a large portion of the country receives hospital care each year. This lesson will examine the different types of hospitals that exist in the U.S.

Types of Hospitals

Hospitals can be categorized many different ways. For example, a hospital can be categorized by its size or by how it receives its funding. The following sections will discuss several different ways that hospitals can be categorized.

1. Size

One of the most basic ways to categorize hospitals is by size:

  • A small-sized hospital has less than 100 beds
  • A medium-sized hospital has between 100 - 500 beds, and
  • A large-sized hospital has more than 500 beds

2. Independent, System, or Network

Hospitals can be classified as either independent or part of a system or network.

  • Independent hospitals are hospitals that are independently owned and operated
  • A system involves multiple hospitals that work together and are run by a central office or administration
  • A network is a large group of medical facilities, hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies that all coordinate to deliver medical care

There is a current trend for hospitals to join a system or network, rather than function as an independent unit.

3. Revenue Generation

Hospitals can be categorized by the way they generate revenue. Not-for-profit hospitals exist in such a way that any profits made by the hospitals are given back to the hospital and used to cover things such as services, salaries, or equipment; or for-profit hospitals, on the other hand, exist in such a way that profits are given to the shareholders of the hospital. It should be noted that about 58% of hospitals in the U.S. are not-for-profit.

4. Teaching

Most hospitals are categorized as either teaching or non-teaching. Teaching hospitals are usually associated with a medical school, perform medical research, and are often more likely to utilize the newest technologies and treatments. Additionally, teaching hospitals often serve a higher percentage of poor patients such as Medicaid, Medicare, and uninsured.

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