Title: Is Preference for Gender Concordance Good in Patient-Provider Relationships?
Center for Health Policy and Center for Primary Care & Outcomes Research
Abstract: Choosing a primary care physician (PCP) of the same gender is a common heuristic used by many patients. However, there is limited evidence as to whether gender concordance in primary care settings produces better health outcomes. Using a novel and largely under-utilized national Medicaid claims database, the Medicaid Analytic eXtract (MAX) files, and an instrumental variables (IV) approach, I evaluate whether gender concordance in the patient-PCP relationship generates good health outcomes among Medicaid managed care enrollees, as measured by improved primary use and the avoidance of hospitalizations and emergency department use. My instrument is based on the availability of male physicians treating other patients in the HSA a particular patient lives in. Preliminary results indicate that while a naive approach (OLS) suggests that gender concordance may lead to better outcomes, adjusting for the endogeneity of patient selection through use of an IV suggests that male PCPs may help both male and female patients achieve better health outcomes.