Factors affecting primary care physicians' perceptions of health system reform in Israel: Professional autonomy versus organizational affiliation

Revital Gross, Hava Tabenkin, Shuli Brammli-Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper examines primary care physicians' perceptions of a National Health Insurance Law that introduced managed competition into Israel's health care system, and the factors affecting their perceptions. Between April and July 1997, we conducted a mail survey of primary care physicians employed by Israel's four health plans (which are managed care organizations). Eight hundred questionnaires were returned, representing a response rate of 86%. The findings indicate that, overall most physicians support the components of the National Health Insurance Law with statistically significant differences among physicians by health plan. Multivariate analysis revealed that, contrary to theoretical expectations, a perceived decrease in professional autonomy and in the status of the profession following reform did not significantly affect attitudes toward national health insurance. These findings highlight the need for additional empirical studies to further examine theoretical contentions about the implications of infringing on the professional autonomy and the dominant status of physicians. The principal and most interesting finding of this study was the independent effect of health plan affiliation on physicians' attitudes toward each of the five components of the National Health Insurance Law, after controlling for background characteristics, for the reform's perceived effect on the physicians' autonomy and status in the health plan, and for the reform's perceived effect on the level of health plan services and the health plan's financial situation. We found that physicians' perceptions tended to conform to the formal position of their health plan, suggesting the need to analyze the attitudes of physicians in their organizational context, rather than treating them as members of a uniform professional community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1450-1462
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume64
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Autonomy
  • Health care reform
  • Israel
  • Organizational affiliation
  • Primary care physicians

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