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Are Hospitals Seasonally Inefficient? Evidence from Washington State Hospitals

  • Daniel Friesner
  • Matthew McPherson
  • Robert Rosenman

    ()

    (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)

Efficiency measurement has been one of the most extensively explored areas of health services research over the past two decades. Despite this attention, few studies have examined whether a provider’s efficiency varies on a monthly, quarterly or other, sub-annual basis. This paper presents an empirical study that looks for evidence of seasonal inefficiency. Using a quarterly panel of general, acute-care hospitals from Washington State, we find that hospital efficiency does vary over time; however, the nature of this dynamic inefficiency depends on the type of efficiency being measured. Our results suggest that technical and cost efficiency vary by quarter. Allocative and scale efficiency also vary on a quarterly basis, but only if the data are jointly disaggregated by quarter and another, firm-specific factor such as size or operating status. Thus, future research, corporate decisions and government policies designed to improve the efficiency of hospital care need to account for seasonal trends in hospital efficiency.

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Paper provided by School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University in its series Working Papers with number 2006-3.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:rosenman-2
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  1. Rodriguez-Alvarez, Ana & Fernandez-Blanco, Victor & Lovell, C. A. Knox, 2004. "Allocative inefficiency and its cost:: The case of Spanish public hospitals," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 99-111, November.
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  13. Luis R. Murillo-Zamorano, 2004. "Economic Efficiency and Frontier Techniques," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 33-77, 02.
  14. Bruce Hollingsworth & P.J. Dawson & N. Maniadakis, 1999. "Efficiency measurement of health care: a review of non‐parametric methods and applications," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 161-172, July.
  15. Jati Sengupta, 1999. "Farrell-type efficiency under demand and price fluctuations," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(8), pages 505-507.
  16. Sherman T. Folland & Richard A. Hofler, 2001. "How reliable are hospital efficiency estimates? Exploiting the dual to homothetic production," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(8), pages 683-698.
  17. Fare, R. & Grosskopf, S. & Roos, P., 1995. "Productivity and quality changes in Swedish pharmacies," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 137-144, April.
  18. Rajiv D. Banker, 1993. "Maximum Likelihood, Consistency and Data Envelopment Analysis: A Statistical Foundation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(10), pages 1265-1273, October.
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