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Utilization of Services by Chronically Ill People in Managed Care and Indemnity Plans: Implications for Quality

Stephen M. Davidson, Harriet Davidson, Heidi Miracle-McMahill, J. Michael Oakes, Sybil Crawford, David Blumenthal and Daniel P. Valentine
Inquiry
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Spring 2003), pp. 57-70
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29773053
Page Count: 14
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Utilization of Services by Chronically Ill People in Managed Care and Indemnity Plans: Implications for Quality
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Abstract

Because incentives for managed care organizations favor cost containment, concerns have been raised that quality of care has suffered, especially for chronically ill people. This study compares utilization rates of managed care and indemnity patients with three chronic conditions, using five years of claims records (1993-97) from private plans and Medicare in one market. Findings show that for all three conditions, managed care patients were more likely to see both primary care physicians and specialists within a year, but less likely to use a hospital emergency department or to be an inpatient. Assuming that patients with these illnesses should see a physician annually and that good primary care reduces the need for emergency and inpatient services, it appears that the patterns of care used by chronically ill managed care patients in this market do not reflect lower quality than that received by similar indemnity patients.

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