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How Do Hospitals Respond to Price Changes?

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  • Leemore S. Dafny

Abstract

This paper examines hospital responses to changes in diagnosis-specific prices by exploiting a 1988 policy reform that generated large price changes for 43 percent of Medicare admissions. I find hospitals responded primarily by "upcoding" patients to diagnosis codes with the largest price increases. This response was particularly strong among for-profit hospitals. I find little evidence hospitals increased the volume of admissions differentially for diagnoses subject to the largest price increases, despite the financial incentive to do so. Neither did they increase intensity or quality of care in these diagnoses, suggesting hospitals do not compete for patients at the diagnosis level.

Suggested Citation

  • Leemore S. Dafny, 2005. "How Do Hospitals Respond to Price Changes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1525-1547, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:5:p:1525-1547
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282805775014236
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David M. Cutler, 1998. "Cost Shifting or Cost Cutting? The Incidence of Reductions in Medicare Payments," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 1-28 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ellis, Randall P. & McGuire, Thomas G., 1996. "Hospital response to prospective payment: Moral hazard, selection, and practice-style effects," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 257-277, June.
    3. Dafny, Leemore & Gruber, Jonathan, 2005. "Public insurance and child hospitalizations: access and efficiency effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 109-129, January.
    4. Dranove, David, 1988. "Pricing by non-profit institutions : The case of hospital cost-shifting," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 47-57, March.
    5. David Dranove, 1987. "Rate-Setting by Diagnosis Related Groups and Hospital Specialization," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(3), pages 417-427, Autumn.
    6. Mark G. Duggan, 2000. "Hospital Ownership and Public Medical Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1343-1373.
    7. Boyd H. Gilman, 2000. "Hospital response to DRG refinements: the impact of multiple reimbursement incentives on inpatient length of stay," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 277-294.
    8. Cutler, David M, 1995. "The Incidence of Adverse Medical Outcomes under Prospective Payment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 29-50, January.
    9. Mark Duggan, 2002. "Hospital Market Structure and the Behavior of Not-For-Profit Hospitals," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(3), pages 433-446, Autumn.
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