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Physician Incentives In Managed Care Organizations: Medical Practice Norms and the Quality of Care

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  • David J. Cooper
  • James B. Rebitzer

Abstract

This brief considers the interaction between physician incentive systems and product market competition in the delivery of medical services via managed care organizations. At the center of the analysis is the process by which health maintenance organizations (HMOs) assemble physician networks and the role these networks play in the competition for customers. The authors find that although physician practice styles respond to financial incentives, there is little evidence that HMO cost-containment incentives cause a discernable reduction in care quality. They propose a model of the managed care marketplace that solves for both physician incentive contracts and HMO product market strategies in an environment of extreme information asymmetry: physicians perceive the quality of care they offer perfectly and their patients do not perceive it at all.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Public Policy Brief Archive with number ppb_70.

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Handle: RePEc:lev:levppb:ppb_70

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  1. Jonathan Gruber & Robin McKnight, 2002. "Why Did Employee Health Insurance Contributions Rise?," NBER Working Papers 8878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Martin Gaynor & James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 2001. "Incentives In HMOs," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_340, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. Altman, Daniel & Cutler, David & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2003. "Enrollee Mix, Treatment Intensity, and Cost in Competing Indemnity and HMO Plans," Scholarly Articles 2664300, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse, 2000. "How Does Managed Care Do It?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(3), pages 526-548, Autumn.
  5. David J. Cooper & James B. Rebitzer, 2002. "Managed Care, Physician Incentives, and Norms of Medical," Microeconomics 0209001, EconWPA.
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