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Medical Equipment, Home Health Account for Much Variation in Health Care Use

A Commonwealth Fund–supported study of geographic variation in the use of health care by Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries reveals that two categories of services—durable medical equipment and home health—are among the biggest contributors to overall variation. The authors of the Health Affairs study (May 2012), led by James Reschovsky, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Center for Studying Health System Change, say the finding may indicate fraud and abuse. They also note that reforms to how health care providers are reimbursed and how insurance benefits are designed could promote more efficient use of all health care resources.

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