The geography of hospital admission in a National Health Service with patient choice: Evidence from Italy
Every year 35% of the 10 million hospital admissions in Italy occurs outside the patients' Local Health Authority of residence. In this paper we look for explanation for this phenomenon and estimate gravity equations for "trade" in hospital care using a Poisson pseudo maximum likelihood method. Our results suggest that the gravity model is a good framework for explaining patient mobility in most of the examined diagnostic groups. We find that the ability to restrain the imports of hospital services increases with the size of the pool of enrollees. Moreover, the ability to export hospital services, as proxied by the ratio of export-to-internal demand, is U-shaped. Therefore our evidence suggests that there are scale effects played by the size of the pool of enrollees.
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