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HOME > Korean J Prev Med > Volume 28(1); 1995 > Article
Impacts of Implementation of Patient Referral System in terms of Medical Expenditures and Medical Utilization.
Sang Hyuk Jung, Han Joong Kim
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 1995;28(1):207-224
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Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea.

A new medical delivery system which regulated outpatient department(OPD) use from tertiary care hospitals was adopted in 1989. Under the new system, patients using tertiary care hospital OPD without referral slip from clinics or hospital could not get any insuranced benefit for the services received from the tertiary care hospital. This study was conducted to evaluate the Patient Referral System(PRS) with respect to health care expenditures and utilization. Two data sets were used in this study. One was monthly data set(from January 1986 to December 1992)from the Annual Report of Korea Medical Insurance Corporation(KMIC). The other was monthly joint data set composed of personal data of which 10% were selected randomly with their utilization data of KMIC from January 1988 to December 1992. The data were analyzed by time-series intervention model of SAS-ETS. The results of this study were as follows: 1. There was no statistically significant changes in per capita expenditures following PRS. 2. Utilization episodes per capita was increased statistically significantly after implementation of PRS. The use of clinics and hospitals increased significantly, whereas in tertiary care hospitals the use decreased significantly immediately after implementation of PRS and increased afterwards. 3. Follow-up visits per episode were decreased statistically significantly after implementation of PRS. The decrease of follow-up visits per episode were remarkable in clinics and hospitals, whereas in tertiary care hospitals it was increased significantly after implementation of PRS. 4. There was no statistically significant changes in prescribing days per episode following PRS. Futhermore, clinics and hospitals showed a statistically significant decrease in prescribing days per episode, whereas in tertiary care hospital it shower statistically significant increase after implementation of PRS. 5. Except high income class, the use of tertiary care hospitals showed statistically significant decrease after implementation of PRS. The degree of decrease in the use of tertiary card hospitals was inversely proportional to income. These results suggest that the PRS policy was not efficient because per capita expenditures did not decrease, and was not effective because utilization episodes per capita, follow-up visits per episode, and prescribing days per episode were not predictable and failed to show proper utilization. It was somewhat positive that utilization episodes per capita were decreased temporarily in tertiary card hospitals. And PRS policy was not appropriate because utilization episodes per capita was different among income groups. In conclusion, the PRS should be revised for initial goal attainment of cost containment and proper health care utilization.

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