Rollover effects in gatekeeper programs: cushioning the impact of restricted choice

Inquiry. Winter 1991;28(4):375-84.


Public and private medical care plans that restrict the beneficiary's choice of providers have experienced rapid growth in the past decade as a means to contain costs and coordinate care. Such plans have been criticized for engendering beneficiary dissatisfaction and potentially impeding access to necessary care. Some of the objections to primary care "gatekeeping" may be diminished by recruiting the physician who served previously as the beneficiary's "usual source of care" to assume the role of formal gatekeeper. This study examines how persons whose gatekeepers were their regular source of care before plan implementation differed in their use and satisfaction from persons required to change their regular source of care. Our findings indicate that satisfaction was significantly higher among individuals who experienced no change in usual source of care. These individuals also tended to be less likely to use the emergency department as a source of care. Although the data are from Medicaid managed care programs, the findings may also be applicable to private sector point-of-service plans that adopt the primary care gatekeeper model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • California
  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Managed Care Programs / organization & administration*
  • Medicaid
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Regression Analysis
  • United States