Getting Incentives Right: An Impact Evaluation of District Hospital Capitation Payment in Vietnam
33 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: November 1, 2013
With the movement toward universal health coverage gaining momentum, the global health research community has made significant efforts to advance knowledge about the impact of various schemes to expand population coverage. The impacts on efficiency, quality, and gaps in service utilization of reforms to provider payment methods are less well studied and understood. The current paper contributes to this limited knowledge by evaluating the impact of a shift by Vietnam's social health insurance agency from reimbursing hospitals on a fee-for-service basis to making a capitation payment to the district hospital where the enrollee lives. The analysis uses panel data on hospitals over the period 2005-2011 and multiple cross-section data sets from the Vietnam Household Living Standards Surveys to estimate impacts on efficiency, quality, and equity. The paper finds that capitation increases hospitals' efficiency, as measured by recurrent expenditure and drug expenditure per case, but has no effect on surgery complication rates or in-hospital deaths. In response to the shift to capitation, hospitals scaled down service provision to the insured and increased provision to the uninsured (who continue to pay out-of-pocket on a fee-for-service basis). The study points to the need to anticipate the intended and unintended effects of any payment reform and the trade-offs among policy objectives.
Keywords: Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Health Systems Development & Reform, Health Law, Population Policies, Disease Control & Prevention
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