Measuring the Fallout from Shutdown of a Rhode Island Health Organization

Studying the impact of an HMO closing on patients and providers

From 2000 to 2002, researchers at the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown University evaluated the impact of the December 1999 closure of the Rhode Island subsidiary of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care New England.

Key Findings

  • Approximately 46 percent of patients who received care at a Harvard Pilgrim health center changed primary care providers due to the closing, as did 20 percent of those who saw doctors in the plan's network.

  • Disruptions in specialty care were also pronounced; some patients reported cancelled medical appointments and difficulties transferring medical records to new providers.

  • Providers reported significant disruptions in their careers, with almost one-third experiencing a period of unemployment; more than half of mental health providers experienced unemployment.

  • At the time of the survey, 18 months after the closing, almost all of the patient respondents were insured and had a primary care provider.