This study examines the economic consequences of non-financial measures of performance in contracts between health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and primary care physicians (PCPs). HMOs have expanded contractual arrangements to give physicians not only financial incentives to control costs, but also to make the physicians accountable for the quality of patient care. Specifically, we examine how quality provisions in HMO-PCP contracts affect utilization (patient length of stay in the hospital), patient satisfaction, and HMO costs. Our results show that quality clauses are associated with a statistically significant increase in utilization (29 more hospital days annually per 1,000 HMO enrollees). Further, inclusion of quality clauses in PCP contracts also led to a significant increase in patient satisfaction, but no associated increase in HMO costs. Overall, these results suggest that quality clauses in PCP contracts can increase value by increasing customer satisfaction without significantly increasing cost.
ASJC Scopus subject areas