Are Patients Traveling Further? uri icon


  • Managed care has been hypothesized to increase patient travel for health care services by steering patients to more distant providers. This raises access concerns. However, if the result is to expand the geographic extent of provider markets, this may ease antitrust concerns about mergers. This research compares travel distances for patients discharged from California hospitals in 1985 and 1991 controlling for payor, diagnosis, and local market conditions. Privately insured patients were more likely to be in managed care than Medicare patients during this period. We expect travel distances to increase for private patients relative to Medicare patients if managed is leading to greater travel. However, for a random sample of patients excluding births and neonatal discharges, we find no evidence relative travel increased. Nor do we find a systematic pattern of increase when we examine travel for specific diagnoses selected on the basis of the urgency and complexity of care. 1998, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

author list (cited authors)

  • White, W. D., & Morrisey, M. A.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • White, William D||Morrisey, Michael A