Panel Urges Global Payment System

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In a dramatic bid to rein in runaway health care spending, Massachusetts is weighing a "global" payment system designed to reward doctors and hospitals for keeping patients healthy.

The proposal would replace the existing fee-for-service system that largely reimburses health care providers for the costs of individual medical procedures.

Officials say that system encourages the overuse of medical services, driving up costs.

They say a global payment system would encourage more coordination among a patient's physicians, nurses, hospitals and other care providers. A report recommends the state adopt the new system over the next five years.

Massachusetts, home of the nation's most ambitious health care law, also has some of the highest health care costs in the country.

This program aired on July 17, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.