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Rochester cited for lowest Medicare spending

Albany, N.Y. (AP) - A new study finds that the Rochester area has the lowest overall Medicare spending rate in the nation.

The Institute of Medicine report found that Rochester's Medicare spending rate per beneficiary was $174 lower than the national monthly mean among 306 U.S. regions.

Health officials attribute that to aggressive regional planning that keeps a lid on unneeded hospital expansions and technology upgrades that insurers ultimately pay for.

Essentially, a standing regional advisory committee made up of various health care stakeholders reviews the need for new departments, new staffing and expensive pieces of diagnostic equipment. It then recommends against those that aren't needed.

Experts say the approach attacks the two biggest drivers of rising medical expenses: new technology and salaries. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration wants to apply Rochester's model statewide.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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