Physician Characteristics and Patient Survival: Evidence from Physician Availability
61 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2021 Last revised: 28 Mar 2021
Date Written: July 2020
Measuring physician quality is fundamental to understanding healthcare productivity, yet patient sorting can confound attempts to estimate the types of physicians that improve survival. This paper aims to overcome selection bias by exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in the mix of physicians available to treat patients when they are admitted to the hospital via the emergency department. One innovation is the construction of proxy measures for the types of physicians available using 100% Medicare claims data. Physician characteristics considered include specialty training, medical school quality rankings, sex, years of experience, and patient volume. The main finding is that when heart failure patients enter the hospital when more cardiologists are available, they are more likely to be treated directly by a cardiologist, have more invasive procedures, and survive over the following year.
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