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Hospital Capacity, Waiting Times and Sick Leave Duration - an Empirical Analysis of a Norwegian Health Policy Reform

A health policy reform aiming to reduce hospital waiting times and sickness absences, the Faster Return to Work (FRW) scheme, is evaluated by creating treatment and control groups to facilitate causal interpretations of the empirical results. We use a unique dataset on individuals where we match hospital data with social security data and socio-economic characteristics. The main idea behind the reform is that long waiting times for hospital treatment lead to unnecessarily long periods of sick leave. We find that the waiting period for treatment or consultation for FRW patients is 12–15 days shorter than for people on sick leave on the regular waiting list. This reduction is only partially transformed into a reduction in the total length of sick leave. On average, the reduction is approximately eight days. There is a significant difference between surgical and non-surgical patients.

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File URL: https://www.uib.no/filearchive/wp.10.12_1.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Bergen, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 10/12.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 15 Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2012_010
Contact details of provider: Postal: Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Phone: (+47)55589200
Fax: (+47)55589210
Web page: http://www.uib.no/econ/en
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  1. Markussen, Simen & Røed, Knut & Røgeberg, Ole J. & Gaure, Simen, 2009. "The Anatomy of Absenteeism," IZA Discussion Papers 4240, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Siciliani, Luigi & Hurst, Jeremy, 2005. "Tackling excessive waiting times for elective surgery: a comparative analysis of policies in 12 OECD countries," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 201-215, May.
  3. Leo Bonato & Lusine Lusinyan, 2004. "Work Absence in Europe," IMF Working Papers 04/193, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Aakvik, Arild & Holmas, Tor Helge & Kjerstad, Egil, 2003. "A low-key social insurance reform--effects of multidisciplinary outpatient treatment for back pain patients in Norway," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 747-762, September.
  5. Michael Lokshin & Zurab Sajaia, 2004. "Maximum likelihood estimation of endogenous switching regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 282-289, September.
  6. Martin, Stephen & Smith, Peter C., 1999. "Rationing by waiting lists: an empirical investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 141-164, January.
  7. Diane Dawson & Hugh Gravelle & Rowena Jacobs & Stephen Martin & Peter C. Smith, 2007. "The effects of expanding patient choice of provider on waiting times: evidence from a policy experiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 113-128.
  8. Aakvik, Arild & Holmås, Tor Helge & Kamrul Islam, M., 2010. "Does variation in general practitioner (GP) practice matter for the length of sick leave? A multilevel analysis based on Norwegian GP-patient data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1590-1598, May.
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