Document Detail

A study on moral hazard in dentistry: costs of care in the private and the public sector.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21314840     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Tuominen R, Eriksson A-L. A study on moral hazard in dentistry: costs of care in the private and the public sector. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2011. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S Abstract - Objectives:  The aim of this study was to evaluate the costs of subsidized care for an adult population provided by private and public sector dentists. Methods:  A sample of 210 patients was drawn systematically from the waiting list for nonemergency dental treatment in the city of Turku. Questionnaire data covering sociodemographic background, dental care utilization and marginal time cost estimates were combined with data from patient registers on treatment given. Information was available on 104 patients (52 from each of the public and the private sectors). Results:  The overall time taken to provide treatment was 181 days in the public sector and 80 days in the private sector (P < 0.002). On average, public sector patients had significantly (P < 0.01) more dental visits (5.33) than private sector patients (3.47), which caused higher visiting fees. In addition, patients in the public sector also had higher other out-of-pocket costs than in the private sector. Those who needed emergency dental treatment during the waiting time for comprehensive care had significantly more costly treatment and higher total costs than the other patients. Overall time required for dental visits significantly increased total costs. The total cost of dental care in the public sector was slightly higher (P < 0.05) than in the private sector. Conclusions:  There is no direct evidence of moral hazard on the provider side from this study. The observed cost differences between the two sectors may indicate that private practitioners could manage their publicly funded patients more quickly than their private paying patients. On the other hand, private dentists providing more treatment per visit could be explained by private dentists providing more than is needed by increasing the content per visit.
Risto Tuominen; Anna-Leena Eriksson
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-2-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Community dentistry and oral epidemiology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1600-0528     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-2-14     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0410263     Medline TA:  Community Dent Oral Epidemiol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
Department of Public Health, University of Turku, Turku, Finland Dental Services Unit, City of Turku, Turku, Finland.
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