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Incentives in HMOs

We study the effect of physician incentives in an HMO network. Physician incentives are controversial because they may induce doctors to make treatment decisions that differ from those they would chose in the absence of incentives. We set out a theoretical framework for assessing the degree to which incentive contracts do in fact induce physicians to deviate from a standard guided only by patient interests and professional medical judgment. Our empirical evaluation of the model relies on details of the HMO's incentive contracts and access to the firm's internal expenditure records. We estimate that the HMO's incentive contract provides a typical physician an increase, at the margin, of $0.10 in income for each $1.00 reduction in medical utilization expenditures. The average response is a 5 percent reduction in medical expenditures. We also find suggestive evidence that financial incentives linked to commonly used "quality" measures may stimulate an improvement in measured quality.

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File URL: https://student-3k.tepper.cmu.edu/gsiadoc/wp/2003-E21.pdf
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Paper provided by Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business in its series GSIA Working Papers with number 2003-E21.

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Handle: RePEc:cmu:gsiawp:864288806
Contact details of provider: Postal: Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Web page: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/

Order Information: Web: http://student-3k.tepper.cmu.edu/gsiadoc/GSIA_WP.asp

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  1. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  2. 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.
  3. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919, November.
  4. Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Incentives and Careers in Organizations," NBER Working Papers 5705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Martin Gaynor & Paul Gertler, 1995. "Moral Hazard and Risk Spreading in Partnerships," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 591-613, Winter.
  6. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
  7. Ferrall, Christopher & Shearer, Bruce, 1999. "Incentives and Transactions Costs within the Firm: Estimating an Agency Model Using Payroll Records," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 309-38, April.
  8. McClellan, Mark & Cutler, David & Newhous, Joseph P., 2000. "How Does Managed Care Do It?," Scholarly Articles 2643884, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. McGuire, Thomas G., 2000. "Physician agency," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 461-536 Elsevier.
  10. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
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