NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Can You Get What You Pay For? Pay-For-Performance and the Quality of Healthcare Providers

Kathleen J. Mullen, Richard G. Frank, Meredith B. Rosenthal

NBER Working Paper No. 14886
Issued in April 2009
NBER Program(s):   HC   HE

Despite the popularity of pay-for-performance (P4P) among health policymakers and private insurers as a tool for improving quality of care, there is little empirical basis for its effectiveness. We use data from published performance reports of physician medical groups contracting with a large network HMO to compare clinical quality before and after the implementation of P4P, relative to a control group. We consider the effect of P4P on both rewarded and unrewarded dimensions of quality. In the end, we fail to find evidence that a large P4P initiative either resulted in major improvement in quality or notable disruption in care.

download in pdf format
   (346 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (346 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14886

Published: Kathleen J. Mullen & Richard G. Frank & Meredith B. Rosenthal, 2010. "Can you get what you pay for? Pay-for-performance and the quality of healthcare providers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(1), pages 64-91.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Li, Hurley, DeCicca, and Buckley w16909 Physician Response to Pay-for-Performance: Evidence from a Natural Experiment
Piketty and Saez w8467 Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998 (series updated to 2000 available)
Dannenberg, Lange, and Sturm w15967 On the Formation of Coalitions to Provide Public Goods - Experimental Evidence from the Lab
Acharya, Pedersen, Philippon, and Richardson How to Calculate Systemic Risk Surcharges
Dranove, Kessler, McClellan, and Satterthwaite w8697 Is More Information Better? The Effects of 'Report Cards' on Health Care Providers
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us