Objective. To evaluate the association between contracting practices of managed care organizations (MCOs) with cardiac surgeons and the quality of the cardiac surgeons.
Data Sources/Study Setting. The study included all cardiac surgeons offering coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and 78 percent of MCOs in New York State in 1998. Primary data: The MCOs' panel composition with respect to hospitals and cardiac surgeons. Secondary data: New York State (NYS) Cardiac Surgery Reports.
Study Design. Statistical analyses of the probability of a contract between cardiac surgeons and MCOs conditional on the surgeon's risk-adjusted mortality rates (RAMR), outlier and low volume status, and controlling for other confounding variables, were performed.
Principal Findings. Contract probability exhibited a tendency to decrease with RAMR, low volume and low-quality outlier status and to increase with high-quality outlier status. These effects were statistically significant for RAMR and high-quality outliers in Downstate and for low volume in Downstate and Upstate.
Conclusions. In some, but not all cases, MCOs are seeking higher-quality providers. Further research is required to understand regional variability and the effect of market structure on the quality profile of MCOs.