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The impact of the diabetes management incentive on diabetes-related services: evidence from Ontario, Canada

Thavam T, Devlin RA, Thind A, Zaric GS, Sarma S. Eur J Health Econ. 2020; Jul 16 [Epub ahead of print]. DOI:

Financial incentives have been introduced in several countries to improve diabetes management. In Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, a Diabetes Management Incentive (DMI) was introduced to family physicians practicing in patient enrollment models in 2006. This paper examines the impact of the DMI on diabetes-related services provided to individuals with diabetes in Ontario. Longitudinal health administrative data were obtained for adults diagnosed with diabetes and their family physicians. The study population consisted of two groups: DMI group (patients enrolled with a family physician exposed to DMI for 3 years), and comparison group (patients affiliated with a family physician ineligible for DMI throughout the study period). Diabetes-related services was measured using the Diabetic Management Assessment (DMA) billing code claimed by patient's physician. The impact of DMI on diabetes-related services was assessed using difference-in-differences regression models. After adjusting for patient- and physician-level characteristics, patient fixed-effects and patient-specific time trend, we found that DMI increased the probability of having at least one DMA fee code claimed by patient's physician by 9.3% points, and the probability of having at least three DMA fee codes claimed by 2.1% points. Subgroup analyses revealed the impact of DMI was slightly larger in males compared to females. We found that Ontario's DMI was effective in increasing the diabetes-related services provided to patients diagnosed with diabetes in Ontario. Financial incentives for physicians help improve the provision of targeted diabetes-related services.