Primary Care Provider Turnover and Quality of Care in Managed Care Organizations

Mary E. Plomondon, David J. Magid, John F. Steiner, Samantha Whinney, Blair D. Gifford, Sarah C. Shih, Gary K. Grunwald and John S. Rumsfeld
American Journal of Managed Care Vol. 13, Issue 8, p. 465-472

Objectives: To examine the association between primary care provider turnover in managed care organizations and measures of member satisfaction and preventive care.

Study Design: Retrospective cohort study of a national sample of 615 managed care organizations that reported HEDISĀ® data to the National Committee for Quality Assurance from 1999 through 2001.

Methods: Multivariable hierarchical regression modeling was used to evaluate the association between health plan primary care provider turnover rate and member satisfaction and preventive care measures, including childhood immunization, well-child visits, cholesterol, diabetes management, and breast and cervical cancer screening, adjusting for patient and organizational characteristics, time, and repeated measures.

Results: The median primary care provider turnover rate was 7.1% (range, 0%-53.3%). After adjustment for plan characteristics, health plans with higher primary care provider turnover rates had significantly lower measures of member satisfaction, including overall rating of healthcare (P < .01). A 10% higher primary care provider turnover rate was associated with 0.9% fewer members rating high overall satisfaction with healthcare. Health plans with higher provider turnover rates also had lower rates of preventive care, including childhood immunization (P = .045), well-child visits (P = .002), cholesterol screening after cardiac event (P = .042), and cervical cancer screening (P = .024). For example, a 10% higher primary care provider turnover was associated with a 2.7% lower rate of child-members receiving well-child visits in the first 15 months of life.

Conclusions: Primary care provider turnover is associated with several measures of care quality, including aspects of member satisfaction and preventive care. Future studies should evaluate whether interventions to reduce primary care provider turnover can improve quality of care and patient outcomes.