Who cares when you close down? The effects of primary care practice closures on patients

Abstract This paper investigates the consequences that patients face when their regular general practitioner (GP) closes down her practice, typically due to retirement. We estimate the causal impact of closures on patients' utilization patterns, healthcare expenditures, hospitalizations, mortality, and health plan choices. Employing a difference-in-difference framework, we find that patients who experience a discontinuity of care persistently adjust their ambulatory utilization pattern by shifting visits away from GPs (−12%) toward specialists (+11%) and hospital outpatient facilities (+6%). In contrast, we find no evidence on adverse health effects as measured by hospitalizations and ...

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