Purpose: This study compared in-hospital mortality within 30 days of admission, lengths of stay, and inpatient charges among patients with heart failure admitted to public and private hospitals in South Korea. Materials and Methods: We obtained health insurance claims data for all heart failure inpatients nationwide between November 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012. These data were then matched with hospital-level data, and multi-level regression models were examined. A total of 8406 patients from 253 hospitals, including 31 public hospitals, were analyzed. Results: The in-hospital mortality rate within 30 days of admission was 0.92% greater and the mean length of stay was 1.94 days longer at public hospitals than at private hospitals (mortality: 5.18% and 4.26%, respectively; LOS: 12.08 and 10.14 days, respectively). The inpatient charges were 11.4% lower per case and 24.5% lower per day at public hospitals than at private hospitals. After adjusting for patient- and hospital-level confounders, public hospitals had a 1.62-fold higher in-hospital mortality rate, a 16.5% longer length of stay, and an 11.7% higher inpatient charge per case than private hospitals, although the charges of private hospitals were greater in univariate analysis. Conclusion: We recommend that government agencies and policy makers continue to monitor quality of care, lengths of stay in the hospital, and expenditures according to type of hospital ownership to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce spending.
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