As the new St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, Ill., prepared to open in August, its chief executive exulted, “You feel like you could be at the Marriott.”
In the $63 million community hospital, patients all enjoy private rooms, with couches, flat-screen TVs and views of nature. Its lobby features stone fireplaces and a waterfall.
Some hospitals in the United States, like Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, have long been associated with deluxe accommodations, and others have always had suites for V.I.P.’s. But today even many smaller hospitals often offer general amenities, like room service and nail salons, more often associated with hotels than health care.
In the current boom of hospital construction, private rooms have become the norm. And some health economists worry that the luxury surroundings are adding unneeded costs to the nation’s $2.7 trillion health care bill.
There are some medical arguments for the trend — private rooms, for example, could lower infection rates and allow patients more rest as they heal. But the main reason for the largess is marketing. Read More.