Malte Griebenow, Mathias Kifmann

Diagnostics and Treatment: On the Division of Labor between Primary Care Physicians and Specialists

Volume 178 () / Issue 2, pp. 191-229 (39)
Published 22.04.2022

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This paper analyzes the referral processes between a gatekeeping primary care physician (PCP) and a specialist. Specialists provide superior treatment for some patients but are more costly than PCPs. Agency problems arise because diagnostic signals are the private information of physicians. Welfare-optimizing contracts can call for a markup either to the PCP for treating patients without referral or to the specialist for referring patients back to the PCP. If the benefit of specialist treatment is uncertain, small markups for the specialist enhance welfare compared to a cost-based fee-for-service contract. We also consider how waiting costs for referrals affect our main results.

Malte Griebenow No current data available.

Mathias Kifmann Born 1970; 1991–96 studies of economics at Ludwig-Maximilian's University in Munich and at the London School of Economics; since 1996 assistant at the University of Constance; 2001 PhD at the University of Constance.