For better or worse: Governing healthcare organisations in times of financial distress

Tessa van Dijk*, Martijn Felder, Richard Janssen, W. K.(Wilma) van der Scheer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Due to processes of financialisation, financial parties increasingly penetrate the healthcare domain and determine under which conditions care is delivered. Their influence becomes especially visible when healthcare organisations face financial distress. By zooming-in on two of such cases, we come to know more about the considerations, motives and actions of financial parties in healthcare. In this research, we were able to examine the social dynamics between healthcare executives, banks and health insurers involved in a Dutch hospital and mental healthcare organisation on the verge of bankruptcy. Informed by interviews, document analysis and translation theory, we reconstructed the motives and strategies of executives, banks and health insurers and show how they play a crucial role in decision-making processes surrounding the survival or downfall of healthcare organisations. While parties are bound by legislation and company procedures, the outcome of financial distress can still be influenced. Much depends on how executives are perceived by financial stakeholders and how they deal with threats of destabilisation of the network. We further draw attention to the consequences of financialisation processes on the practices of healthcare organisations in financial distress.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Early online date28 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Sociology of Health & Illness published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness.


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