2,087 research outputs found

    Can Ranking Hospitals on the Basis of Patients' Travel Distances Improve Quality of Care?

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    Conventional outcomes report cards­ public disclosure of information about the patient-background-adjusted health outcomes of individual hospitals and physicians -- may help improve quality, but they may also encourage providers to %u201Cgame%u201D the system by avoiding sick and/or seeking healthy patients. In this paper, I propose an alternative approach: ranking hospitals on the basis of the travel distances of their Medicare patients. At least in theory, a distance report card could dominate conventional outcomes report cards: a distance report card might measure quality of care at least as well but suffer less from selection problems. I use data on elderly Medicare beneficiaries with heart attack and stroke from 1994 and 1999 to show that a distance report card would be both valid ­ that is, correlated with true quality ­ and able to distinguish confidently among hospitals ­ that is, able to reject at conventional significance levels the hypothesis that the true quality of a low-ranked hospital was the same as the quality of the average hospital. The hypothetical distance report card I propose compares favorably to (although does not necessarily dominate) the California AMI outcomes report card.

    Empirical Study of the Civil Justice System

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    In this essay, we discuss empirical research on the economic effects of the civil justice system. We discuss research on the effects of three substantive bodies of law- contracts, torts, and property- and research on the effects of the litigation process. We begin with a review of studies of aggregate empirical trends and the important issues involving contracts and torts, both positive and normative. We survey some of the more interesting empirical issues, and we conclude with some suggestions for future work. Because studies involving property law are so divergent, there is no simple description of aggregates that adequately characterizes the subject. In its place, we offer an overview of a number of the most important issues of interest. We describe (selectively) the current state of empirical knowledge, and offer some suggestions for future research. The section on legal process builds on the previous substantive sections. With respect each of the steps, from violation to trial to appeal, we review some of the more important empirical contributions.

    The Effects of Malpractice Pressure and Liability Reforms on Physicians’ Perceptions of Medical Care

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    Considerable evidence suggests that the medical malpractice liability system neither provides compensation to patients who suffer negligent medical injury nor seeks to penalize physicians whose negligence causes patient injury. The relationship between liability reforms, malpractice pressure and physician perceptions of medical care is examined

    The Effects of Hospital Ownership on Medical Productivity

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    To develop new evidence on the effects of hospital ownership and other aspects of hospital market composition on health care productivity, we analyze longitudinal data on the medical expenditures and health outcomes of the vast majority of nonrural elderly Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for new heart attacks over the 1985-1996 period. We find that the effects of ownership status are quantitatively important. Areas with a presence of for-profit hospitals have approximately 2.4 percent lower levels of hospital expenditures, but virtually the same patient health outcomes. We conclude that for-profit hospitals have important spillover benefits for medical productivity.

    Prevailing Wage Laws and Construction Labor Markets

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    Prevailing wage laws, which require that construction workers employed by private contractors on public projects be paid at least the wages and benefits that are "prevailing" for similar work in or near the locality in which the project is located, have been the focus of an extensive policy debate. We find that the relative wages of construction workers decline slightly after the repeal of a state prevailing wage law. However, the small overall impact of law repeal masks substantial differences in outcomes for different groups of construction employees. Repeal is associated with a sizeable reduction in the union wage premium and a significant narrowing of the black/nonblack wage differential for construction workers.

    Detecting Medicare Abuse

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    This paper identifies which types of patients and hospitals have abusive Medicare billings that are responsive to law enforcement. For a 20 percent random sample of elderly Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized from 1994-98 with one or more of six illnesses that are prone to abuse, we obtain longitudinal claims data linked with Social Security death records, hospital characteristics, and state/year-level anti-fraud enforcement efforts. We show that increased enforcement leads certain types of types of patients and hospitals to have lower billings, without adverse consequences for patients' health outcomes.

    The Effects of Competition on Variation in the Quality and Cost of Medical Care

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    We estimate the effects of hospital competition on the level of and the variation in quality of care and hospital expenditures for elderly Medicare beneficiaries with heart attack. We compare competition's effects on more-severely ill patients, whom we assume value quality more highly, to the effects on less-severely ill, low-valuation patients. We find that low-valuation patients in less-competitive markets receive more intensive treatment than in more-competitive markets, but have statistically similar health outcomes. In contrast, high-valuation patients in less-competitive markets receive less intensive treatment than in more-competitive markets, and have significantly worse health outcomes. Since this competition-induced increase in variation in expenditures is, on net, expenditure-decreasing and outcome-beneficial, we conclude that it is welfare-enhancing. These findings are inconsistent with conventional models of vertical differentiation, although they can be accommodated by more recent models.
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