NU Online News Service, June 19, 3:15 p.m. – Patient Choice Healthcare Inc., Minneapolis, says its health care provider networks in Minnesota held cost increases to just 8.3% in 2001, compared to an average of 14.3% for all Minnesota health maintenance organizations.

The company says it based those figures on statistics appearing in the latest Minnesota Managed Care Review, a report published by Minneapolis researcher Allan Baumgarten.

Patient Choice organizes doctors, hospitals and clinics into “care systems,” then uses cost data to divide the care systems into groups. Plan members who want to use the more expensive systems pay more for their care.

The program gives care systems an incentive to justify higher rates by providing better service and higher quality care, Patient Choice says.

Patient Choice found that 51% of its plan members were using lower-cost systems in 2001, up from 10% in 1998.