Market conditions and general practitioners’ referrals
We study how market conditions influence referrals of patients by general practitioners (GPs).We set up a model ofGP referral for theNorwegian health care system, where a GP receives capitation payment based on the number of patients in his practice, as well as fee-for-service reimbursements. A GP may accept new patients or close the practice to new patients. We model GPs as partially altruistic, and compete for patients. We show that a GP operating in a more competitive market has a higher referral rate. To compete for patients and to retain them, a GP satisfies patients’ requests for referrals. Furthermore, a GP who faces a patient shortage will refer more often than a GP who does not. Tests with Norwegian GP radiology referral data support our theory.
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