MEDIA RELEASE: North Carolina could save millions in health costs with more efficient care, study says

MEDIA RELEASE:  North Carolina could save millions in health costs with more efficient care, study says
New research from the NC Justice Center's Health Access Coalition says studying the variation in surgery rates across communities could yield serious benefits

RALEIGH (March 30, 2009) -- North Carolina could save millions in health costs with more efficient, patient-centered care, says a new report released this morning.

From community to community in North Carolina there is great variation in the frequency of surgical procedures - variation that can't be explained by disease rates or factors such as age, sex, or race. In a new paper entitled "Different City, Different Treatment: Saving Money and Improving Care in North Carolina," a health policy analyst says that this variance in surgery rates means where you live is more important than what you prefer in terms of your own medical care.

"Neighboring communities across North Carolina have widely different surgery rates," writes Adam Linker, health policy analyst with the NC Justice Center's Health Access Coalition. "By studying and limiting this variation the state could save money and give patients more control over their own health care."

This geographical difference in treatment, Linker says, means that physician preference is driving care even when multiple valid treatment options exist for a given diagnosis. The result is a system that is wasteful, inefficient and undermines patient choice.

The report is available online at http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=node/204

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Adam Linker, 919.861.2074 (office), 252.375.6520 (mobile); Jeff Shaw, director of communications, NC Justice Center, 919.863.2402 (office), 503.551.3615 (mobile).