Creaming and Dumping: Who on Whom?
In several countries, public healthcare providers purchase services from private providers to shorten waiting times. Some private providers in turn combine public service with practice in their own facilities. According to the existing literature, they are viewed as cream-skimming profitable (low-severity) public patients to the benefit of private practice, causing cost of treatment in the public sector to increase. This is particularly problematic when public provider payment is prospective. However, two facts seem to be neglected. First, cream skimming involves effort and thus does not occur in all circumstances. Second, public providers might have an incentive to select patients too, resulting in dumping of the least profitable (high-severity) patients on the private sector. This paper derives the conditions under which both creaming and dumping are predicted to occur.
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