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Death, disease rates linked to primary care

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Seniors receiving more primary care have slightly less chance of death and are less likely to be admitted to the hospital with a preventable disease, a new study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows.

The study used the Medicare data of more than five million seniors and discovered that areas in the top 20 percent of primary care physician saturation saw 5.19 deaths per 100 Medicare beneficiaries annually compared to 5.49 per 100 in the bottom 20 percent. Preventable diseases occurred at a rate of 73 per 1,000 beneficiaries and 79 per 1,000, respectively.

The increase in primary care, however, does come at a cost. Researchers found that areas with the greatest incidence of primary care spent $88 more per Medicare beneficiary, which translates to $14 billion nationwide.

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