Analysis of social functions in Iran’s public hospitals: pattern of offering discounts to poor patients

Aidin Aryankhesal, Manal Etemadi, Zahra Agharahimi, Elham Rostami, Mohammad Mohseni, Zeinab Musavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Exemption from hospital charges may appear as an essential policy in order to support the poor. Such policies can function for the fulfillment of governments’ social- and justice-based responsibilities in public hospitals. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the pattern of offering discounts to the poor and the effect of Iran’s recent Health Sector Evolution Plan on it. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted analytical research longitudinally on the data related to cash discounts offered to the poor within a teaching hospital. Data were collected through the period of four months, September to December 2013, before the establishment of the Health Sector Evolution Plan, and in the similar months through 2014, after the establishment of the Health Sector Evolution Plan, in order to compare the amount of cash discounts. The type of insurance, length of stay, amount of discounts offered to patients, and total costs of hospital charges were studied and compared by referring to the social working department. Data were analyzed using the χ2-test, Mann-Whitney U test, ANOVA, and regression analysis aided by SPSS 20. Findings: The number of patients offered discounts or exempted from payment in 2014 reduced compared to the number in 2013. The highest rate of demand for discounts was related to patients covered by Emdad Committee followed by those who had no insurance. The ratio of discount to cost in the oncology ward was higher than other groups. Originality/value: The results of the present study can contribute to the plans of health system policy makers in organizing measures for supporting poor patients toward accessing healthcare services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-253
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Discount
  • Healthcare evolution plan
  • Hospital
  • Poor patients
  • Social functions

Cite this