Assessing the impact of More Doctors Program on health care indicators
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This paper aims to assess the short run effects of the More Doctors Program, launched by the Brazilian federal government in 2013. Using differences-in-differences approach with municipal data collected between 2010 and 2015, we confirm that MDP has two correlated impacts. First, it has increased health service attendance on treated municipalities. We document that appointments, consults, referrals, and home visits have increased by 5.9%, 9.4%, 12.3%, and 29.7%. Second, we find a negative impact on hospitalization. We argue that intensification on health service access have reduced general hospitalization (4.6%). However, it does not seem to have been able to reduce mortality in the municipalities, in line with Carrilo and Feres (2018) and Fontes et al. (2017). We argue that increase in referrals and appointment with specialists can be interpreted as quality improvement, since a more precise diagnostic, can reduce hospitalization due to faster health recovery without an impact on mortality.