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Study: Big regional differences in Medicare costs

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Medicare costs vary wildly across the country, according to a study by the Dartmouth Atlas Project, that found the government paying twice as much for treating a patient in Miami as in San Francisco. The study said the differences in spending from one area to another can be blamed on decisions made by individual doctors who are influenced by what medical services are available nearby.

The Dartmouth Atlas findings, being published in the New England Journal of Medicine, drawn from an analysis of government Medicare data from 1992-2006, suggest great inefficiencies in care in some parts of the country. It also says there is plenty of room for reform if practices in the regions of the country that are less expensive could become the national norm.

Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care: Regional Disparity in Medicare Spending

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