Free choice, waiting time and length of stay in Norwegian hospitals
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- Working papers (SNF) 
In many countries’ public health care systems patients now have choice of hospital. Hospitals compete by offering quality services. In Norway, freedom of choice was expected to reduce waiting time for planned admissions. Using a data set of approximately 56,000 patients classified in fourteen different Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) over the four year period 1999-2002, we find that migrating patients wait on average two months less for treatment compared to patients choosing the hospital closest to their home municipality. We also find that migrating patients stay approximately one day shorter in hospital compared to non-migrating patients.