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Earnings management in public healthcare organizations: the case of the English NHS hospitals

Seraina Anagnostopoulou and Charitini Stavropoulou

Public Money & Management, 2023, vol. 43, issue 2, 95-104

Abstract: This paper explores whether NHS hospitals in England managed their earnings upward before applying to the government for foundation trust (FT) status—a scheme that allowed them greater financial freedom and management autonomy—in order to present an overly positive picture and increase their chances for a successful application. The paper shows that NHS FTs adjusted discretionary accruals upward for up to two years before applying for FT status. This practice was negatively associated with their future financial performance. Our study contributes to the growing literature on earnings management in the healthcare sector, by taking an event-study approach applied to this sector when significant institutional changes take place.

Date: 2023
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DOI: 10.1080/09540962.2020.1866854

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