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Doctors join hospitals, and prices soar

from The News & Observer

North Carolina patients pay more for many tests and procedures if their physician is employed by a hospital, an investigation by The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer has found. It's true whether the healthcare offered is a heart stress test or a routine visit to a doctor's office. And it's part of a national shift that experts say is raising costs but not quality: Hospitals are increasingly buying doctor'’ practices, then sending bills for routine services that are significantly higher than those charged by independent doctors. more

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