PHYSICIAN PAYMENT AND PRENATAL CARE ACCESS FOR HETEROGENEOUS PATIENTS

Authors

  • Karen M. Travis

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • *I wish to thank Yoram Barzel, Darlene Chisholm, Joseph Newhouse, Benjamin Blair, and Shelly Lundberg for helpful comments. Financial support from the Wells Fargo Faculty Research fund is gratefully acknowledged. I wish to thank the Office of Research and Data Analysis, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services for data. Two anonymous referees made useful suggestions. All errors are my own.


1 Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Phone 1–702-895-3018, Fax 1–702-895-3154 E-mail Ktravis@nevada.edu

Abstract

Changes in prospective payments to reimburse physicians for serving Medicaid patients have been rising in many States. Policy makers anticipate that higher fees will increase access to services. This paper explores whether physicians respond to the increased payment by increasing access differentially by patient type. Physicians may gain from serving only those patients expected to be of low medical risk and cost. Empirical tests using Medicaid data from 1988 to 1991 for prenatal care provision in Washington State show fees are significant in improving access to care for the average patient with significantly greater improvement for Hispanics and single patients. (JEL I11, I18)

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