Going Off-Script: Physician License Suspensions and Primary Care Access for Medicaid Recipients (In progress)

Abstract

The United States is facing a shortage of physicians. This paper analyzes how Medicaid patients respond to changes in primary care access and how changes to access affect their health outcomes. Using a novel dataset of medical license suspensions that we construct based on public records, we explore how Medicaid patients respond to the sudden unavailability of their primary care physician. We focus on whether patients continue care with other physicians, whether they visit emergency rooms in place of primary care, and whether they continue taking prescribed medications. We find that physicians that accept Medicaid patients are more likely to be disciplined, but may provide valuable care to patients and prevent overuse of emergency department resources. These findings help policymakers better understand the trade-offs between access to care and the quality of care.

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