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When doc's office is open longer, patient costs dip

Reuters, September 13, 2012

People whose doctors keep longer office hours may spend a little less on healthcare, a new study finds. Using survey data from more than 30,700 Americans, researchers found that 36 percent said their doctor offered weekend and evening hours. And over two years, those patients spent 10 percent less on medical care than people whose doctors stuck with traditional weekday hours—a difference of more than $1,000. The reasons are not yet known, and it's possible that the longer hours "caused" the lower spending, according to lead researcher Dr. Anthony Jerant, of the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento.