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Report shows upstate New York has some of lowest healthcare spending in country

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ROCHESTER, NY (07/30/2013)(readMedia) -- The Rochester region, long recognized for high quality healthcare, has emerged in a new report from the Institute of Medicine as having the lowest total Medicare health spending in the country.

The report, Variation in Healthcare Spending: Target Decision Making, Not Geography, examined regional differences in healthcare spending, utilization and quality. The report also explored whether certain payment methods should be changed to address the regional variations.

On table G-1 at the end of the report, Rochester was ranked as having the lowest total Medicare health spending rate per beneficiary in the country among 306 regional markets; $174 per month lower than the median of the group. Other upstate New York regions were among the lowest 10 percent of the markets measured. Buffalo had the fourth lowest costs. Syracuse was ranked with the 19th lowest, while Binghamton and Elmira were 25th and 26th lowest.

"The IOM report confirms that consumers in upstate New York get great value for their healthcare dollars," said Christopher Booth, CEO for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. "Our collaborative, community-wide approach to providing healthcare and our region's reliance on non-profit health insurers and hospitals gives consumers and employers who buy health insurance the greatest value for their money."

The IOM report on upstate New York's lower healthcare costs follows a national report by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the Urban Institute showing that while communities such as Rochester pay less, they also maintain high quality of care.

"Collaboration works among all of the stakeholders in healthcare when people put community health first," said Martin Lustick, MD, senior vice-president and chief corporate medical director for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. "For example, Rochester has a long history of community planning to make sure we have enough healthcare services available without overbuilding the system."

The IOM report is also validation for having a major, locally-based, non-profit health insurer. "We have an interest in keeping healthcare costs low for both Medicare and our commercial customers," Lustick said. "Because we are locally based, we view that it is as equally important to have a solid healthcare delivery system to attract new businesses to the region as it is to have costs that are affordable."


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