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

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Aakvik, Arild & Holmås, Tor Helge & Kjerstad, Egil, 2012. "Hospital Capacity, Waiting Times and Sick Leave Duration - an Empirical Analysis of a Norwegian Health Policy Reform," Working Papers in Economics 10/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2012_010
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    File URL: https://www.uib.no/filearchive/wp.10.12_1.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carol Propper, 1995. "The Disutility of Time Spent on the United Kingdom's National Health Service Waiting Lists," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 677-700.
    2. 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.
    3. Michael Lokshin & Zurab Sajaia, 2004. "Maximum likelihood estimation of endogenous switching regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 282-289, September.
    4. Lusine Lusinyan & Leo Bonato, 2007. "Work Absence in Europe," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(3), pages 475-538, July.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Markussen, Simen & Røed, Knut & Røgeberg, Ole J. & Gaure, Simen, 2011. "The anatomy of absenteeism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 277-292, March.
    8. 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.
    9. 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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    waiting times; length of sick leave; policy reform and econometric evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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