A new approach to optimal selection of services in health care organizations

Donald L. Adolphson, Mark L. Baird, Kenneth D. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new reimbursement policy adopted by Medicare in 1983 caused financial difficulties for many hospitals and health care organizations. Several organizations responded to these difficulties by developing systems to carefully measure their costs of providing services. The purpose of such systems was to provide relevant information about the profitability of hospital services. This paper presents a new method of making hospital service selection decisions: it is based on an optimization model that avoids arbitrary cost allocations as a basis for computing the costs of offering a given service. The new method provides more reliable information about which services are profitable or unprofitable, and it provides an accurate measure of the degree to which a service is profitable or unprofitable. The new method also provides useful information about the sensitivity of the optimal decision to changes in costs and revenues. Specialized algorithms for the optimization model lead to very efficient implementation of the method, even for the largest health care organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalSocio-Economic Planning Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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