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Rewards for patients to switch care

The Boston Globe, December 20, 2011

Told they need a routine medical test, such as a colonoscopy or a mammogram, most patients go wherever the doctor recommends. But under a program being rolled out next month by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, they could be paid to seek care somewhere else. The health insurer plans to introduce a rewards program through which its Massachusetts members who have been given referrals will be asked to call a “clinical concierge’’ service that can direct them to hospitals or medical facilities that charge less for the same tests. In return, they will receive a check from Harvard Pilgrim, ranging from $10 to $75.