The Impact of LOV (Lagen om Valfrihetssystem) on the Swedish Home Care Sector
Abstract: There has been an intense debate regarding elderly care in Sweden the last years. Since private actors, the largest owned by private equity funds, entered the market there has been increasing attention regarding large profits to owners, profit transfers to tax havens, industry risk, health care scandals and more. The debate has engaged the whole nation and many of our researched topics have been affected by inaccurate facts. Our research purpose is two-fold. The first part intends to investigate the most debated topics through examining research and actual facts. A currently debated topic concerns prohibiting profits in the elderly care industry. Prohibiting profits is equivalent to prohibit many private health care providers from operating which in turn would reduce patients' freedom of choice. As of May, 2013 there is no research on what impact LOV has had on quality in the home care sector. LOV is a law that was introduced in 2009 and implemented on municipality level, allowing patients to choose freely among providers; whether they are private or publicly owned. If LOV have a positive impact on quality, profits in this industry should be allowed. Therefore, our second part is an empirical study that examines LOV's impact on quality within the home care sector. We compare how the quality has evolved in municipalities where LOV has been implemented with municipalities where LOV has not been implemented. In our study we measure quality through four variables. We have got statistically significant improvements for the two variables Consideration of Opinions and Wishes and Reception in municipalities where LOV has been implemented. For the two other variables, Safety at Home and Overall Experience, we have no statistical significant results.
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