The impact of long-term care on primary care doctor consultations for people over 75
Katerina Gousia | PSSRU, University of Kent
Many countries are adopting policies to create greater coordination and integration between acute and long-term care services. This policy is predicated on the assumption that these service areas have interdependent outcomes for patients. In this paper we study the interdependencies between the long-term (home care) services and consultations with a primary care doctor, as used by people over 75. Starting with a model of individual’s demand for doctor consultations, given supply, we formalize the hypothesis that exogenous increases to home care supply will reduce the number of consultations where these services are technical substitutes. Furthermore, greater coordination of public service planning and use of pooled budgets could lead to better outcomes because planners can account for these externalities. We test our main hypothesis using data from the BHPS for years 1991-2009. To address potential concerns about endogeneity we use a set of instrumental variables for home care motivated by institutional features of the social care system. We find that there is a statistically significant substitution effect between home care and doctor visits, which is robust across a range of specifications. This result has implications for policies that consider increased coordination between health care and social care systems.