Physician Withdrawals: A Major Source of Instability in Medicare+Choice

January 1, 2002

Authors: Geraldine Dallek and Andrew Dennington, George Washington University.

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Overview

Public attention has recently focused on the withdrawal of Medicare+Choice plans from the Medicare program between 1998 and 2001 as a source of instability in the program. This report looks at a second major, if less visible, cause of program instability—physician withdrawals from Medicare+Choice plans. When providers leave plans, patient care is often disrupted.
This report examines Medicare data on primary care provider turnover rates in the 38 states (and the District of Columbia (D.C.)) for which data were available and in seven Medicare+Choice study sites—Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York City, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Tucson. It also analyzes the turnover rates for primary care physicians, cardiologists, and hospitals in Cleveland and St. Petersburg over a two-year period.

Citation

Physician Withdrawals: A Major Source of Instability in Medicare+Choice, Geraldine Dallek and Andrew Dennington, George Washington University, The Commonwealth Fund, January 2002