Medical Necessity and Defined Coverage Benefits in the Oregon Health Plan

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 87, no. 6, June 1997, p. 1053-1058

Posted on on January 01, 1997

by Peter Glassman, Peter Jacobson, Steven M. Asch

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

The qualitative study described in this article addressed whether medical necessity remains a salient and useful concept in the Oregon Health Plan. Results indicate that defined coverage benefits, as described by the funded portion of the Prioritized List of Services, supplant medical necessity determinations for coverage, while managed care incentives limit the need for medical necessity determinations at the provider level. Clinical choices are, for the most part, guided by providers' judgment within the financial constraints of capitation and by targeted use management techniques. The combination of capitated care and Oregon's defined coverage benefits package has marginalized the use of medical necessity, albeit with consequences for state oversight of Medicaid services.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.