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Market Competition and Health Outcomes in Hemodialysis

Objective: To examine whether market competition is associated with improved health outcomes in hemodialysis.

Data Sources: Secondary analysis of data from a national dialysis registry between 2001 and 2011.

Study Design: We conducted one and twopart linear regression models, using each hospital service area (HSA) as its own control, to examine the independent associations among market concentration and health outcomes.

Data Collection: We selected cohorts of patients receiving incenter hemodialysis in the United States at the start of each calendar year. We used information about dialysis facility ownership and the location where patients received dialysis to measure an index of market concentration—the HirschmanHerfindahl Index (HHI)—for HSA and year, which ranges from near zero (perfect competition) to one (monopoly).

Principal Findings: An average reduction in HHI by 0.2 (one standard deviation in 2011) was associated with 2.9 fewer hospitalizations per 100 patientyears (95 percent CI, 0.4 to 5.4). If these findings were generalized to the entire incenter hemodialysis population, this would translate to 8,100 (95 percent CI 1,200 to 15,000) fewer hospitalizations in 2011. There was no association between change in market competition and mortality.

Conclusions: Market competition in dialysis may lead to improved health outcomes.

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