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Organizational Fragmentation and Care Quality in the U.S. Health Care System

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  • Randall D. Cebul
  • James B. Rebitzer
  • Lowell J. Taylor
  • Mark Votruba

Abstract

Many goods and services can be readily provided through a series of unconnected transactions, but in health care close coordination over time and within care episodes improves both health outcomes and efficiency. Close coordination is problematic in the US health care system because the financing and delivery of care is distributed across a variety of distinct and often competing entities, each with its own objectives, obligations and capabilities. These fragmented organizational structures lead to disrupted relationships, poor information flows, and misaligned incentives that combine to degrade care quality and increase costs. We illustrate our argument with examples taken from the insurance and the hospital industries, and discuss possible responses to the problems resulting from organizational fragmentation.

Suggested Citation

  • Randall D. Cebul & James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor & Mark Votruba, 2008. "Organizational Fragmentation and Care Quality in the U.S. Health Care System," NBER Working Papers 14212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14212
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Simona Grassi & Ching-to Albert Ma, 2016. "Information acquisition, referral, and organization," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(4), pages 935-960, November.
    2. James B. Rebitzer & Mark E. Votruba, 2011. "Organizational Economics and Physician Practices," NBER Working Papers 17535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Pierre Thomas Léger & Erin Strumpf, 2010. "Système de paiement des médecins : bref de politique," CIRANO Project Reports 2010rp-12, CIRANO.
    4. Randall D. Cebul & James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor & Mark E. Votruba, 2011. "Unhealthy Insurance Markets: Search Frictions and the Cost and Quality of Health Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1842-1871, August.
    5. Larry G. Epstein & Hiroaki Kaido & Kyoungwon Seo, 2016. "Robust Confidence Regions for Incomplete Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 1799-1838, September.
    6. Agha, Leila & Frandsen, Brigham & Rebitzer, James B., 2019. "Fragmented division of labor and healthcare costs: Evidence from moves across regions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 144-159.
    7. Alan M. Garber & Jonathan Skinner, 2008. "Is American Health Care Uniquely Inefficient?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 27-50, Fall.
    8. repec:tpr:amjhec:v:4:y:2018:i:4:p:454-478 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Amitabh Chandra & Jonathan Skinner, 2012. "Technology Growth and Expenditure Growth in Health Care," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(3), pages 645-680, September.
    10. Gaynor, Martin & Town, Robert J., 2011. "Competition in Health Care Markets," Handbook of Health Economics, Elsevier.
    11. Cox, James C. & Sadiraj, Vjollca & Schnier, Kurt E. & Sweeney, John F., 2016. "Higher quality and lower cost from improving hospital discharge decision making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 1-16.
    12. repec:exc:wpaper:2013-09 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Brigham Frandsen & Michael Powell & James B. Rebitzer, 2019. "Sticking points: common‐agency problems and contracting in the US healthcare system," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 50(2), pages 251-285, June.
    14. Mark McClellan, 2011. "Reforming Payments to Healthcare Providers: The Key to Slowing Healthcare Cost Growth While Improving Quality?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 69-92, Spring.
    15. Brigham Frandsen & James B. Rebitzer, 2014. "Structuring Incentives Within Organizations: The Case of Accountable Care Organizations," NBER Working Papers 20034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Randall D. Cebul & James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor & Mark E. Votruba, 2008. "Organizational Fragmentation and Care Quality in the U.S. Healthcare System," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 93-113, Fall.
    17. Marton, James & Yelowitz, Aaron & Talbert, Jeffery C., 2014. "A tale of two cities? The heterogeneous impact of medicaid managed care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 47-68.
    18. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Kimberley H. Geissler & Benjamin Lubin, 2018. "The Impact of Partial-Year Enrollment on the Accuracy of Risk-Adjustment Systems: A Framework and Evidence," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 454-478, Fall.
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    20. Marianne Simonsen & Lars Skipper & Niels Skipper & Peter Rønø Thingholm, 2019. "Discontinuity in Care: Practice Closures among Primary Care Providers and Patient Health," Economics Working Papers 2019-08, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    21. Cox, James C. & Sadiraj, Vjollca & Schnier, Kurt E. & Sweeney, John F., 2016. "Higher quality and lower cost from improving hospital discharge decision making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 1-16.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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