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Discontinuity in Care: Practice Closures among Primary Care Providers and Patient Health

Marianne Simonsen (), Lars Skipper, Niels Skipper and Peter Røno Thingholm
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Lars Skipper: Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University
Niels Skipper: Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University
Peter Røno Thingholm: Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University

Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University

Abstract: This paper investigates consequences of practice closures among primary care providers on subsequent patient health care utilization and health. Critically, the analysis relies on population-level administrative Danish data that facilitate a unique link between all Danes and their family doctor. We start by characterizing the nature of a practice closure, including the change in provider characteristics that occurs when patients change provider. Practice closure leads patients to choose a systematically younger and less experienced primary care provider. Using a difference-in-differences strategy that compares individuals who experience a practice closing with similar individuals enrolled in similar practices that do not close until later, we next investigate consequences for patient health care utilization and health outcomes. We find that a change in provider due to practice closure increases detection of chronic illness but does not lead to concurrent changes in primary care utilization. We do detect a considerable increase in the use of emergency care, however. A decomposition exercise shows that both physician practice style and the disruption itself plays a role for the total effects but that the direction of their relative influence varies across outcome domains. Importantly, disruption is not always negative from the perspective of the patient.

Keywords: Physician practice closure; disruption; practice styles (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I11 I12 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 55
Date: 2019-06-24
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-hea
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