NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Cathy J. Bradley

University of Colorado-Denver
13001 E. 17th Place, B119
Bldg. 500, Rm N6203L
Aurora, CO 80045

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Institutional Affiliation: University of Colorado-Denver

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2017The Effect of Primary Care Visits on Health Care Utilization: Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial
with David Neumark, Lauryn Saxe Walker: w24100
We conducted a randomized controlled trial, enrolling low-income uninsured adults in Virginia (United States), to determine whether cash incentives are effective at encouraging a primary care provider (PCP) visit, and at lowering utilization and costs. Subjects were randomized to four groups: untreated controls, and one of three incentive arms with incentives of $0, $25, or $50 for visiting a PCP within six months of group assignment. We used the exogenous variation generated by the experiment to obtain causal evidence on the effects of a PCP visit. We observed modest reductions in non-urgent emergency department use and increased outpatient use, but no reductions in overall costs. These findings in utilization are consistent with the expectation that PCPs offer an alternative to the emerg...
 
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