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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17774

Title: Behaviour in a Canadian Multi-payer, Multi-provider Health Care Market: The Case of the Physiotherapy Market in Ontario
Authors: Holyoke, Paul
Advisor: Deber, Raisa Berlin
Department: Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
Keywords: health care market
public/private
not-for-profit
for-profit
foreign investment
physiotherapy
regulated health professionals
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2009
Abstract: This is a study of several contentious issues in Canadian health policy involving the interaction of public and private payers and for-profit (FP) and not-for-profit (NFP) providers; the influence of health professionals on market structure; and the role of foreign investment. A case study was used, the Ontario physiotherapy market in 2003-2005, with its complex mix of payers and providers and foreign investment opportunities. Key market features were: fragmented but substantial payer influence, effective though uncoordinated cost control across payers, constrained labour supply, and fragmented patient referral sources. These features increased the complexity of providers’ interactions with patients and payers, reducing standardization and therefore favouring local, professional-owned small business FP providers (FP/s) for ambulatory care. NFP Hospitals’ market share declined. The findings generally confirmed expected behavioural differences between FP and NFP providers but expected differences between investor-owned FP providers (FP/c) and FP/s providers were not generally found. FP/s dominated the market, and FP/c providers appeared to mimic FP/s market behaviours, competing in local sub-markets. With no single or dominant payer, cost control difficulties were expected, but all 11 payer categories (public and private) used various cost control mechanisms, resulting in significant collective but uncoordinated influence. Generally, no payer alone supported a provider’s operations. The dominant labour suppliers, regulated physiotherapists, were scarce and exerted significant pressure, affecting market structure by asserting individual preferences and professional interests. FP/s dominance resulted, supported by the traditional patient referral source, physicians in small practices. Very little foreign investment was found despite little protection for domestic providers under NAFTA. In sum, this study showed FP and NFP provider stereotypes are subject to payer pressure: FP/c organizations can adapt by mimicking FP/s, and payers can modify NFPs’ assumed community orientation. Labour shortages and historical referral patterns can make individual professionals and their preferences more influential than their collective profession without diminishing the importance of professional interests. The degree and structure of payer control can make a market unattractive to foreign investors. Finally, this market – neither a planned or standard market – had a service provision pattern more broadly influenced by professionalism and practitioner interests than policies or prices.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17774
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
The Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation - Doctoral theses

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