BOSTON (AP) -- A new report is estimating that nearly four out of every 10 dollars spent on health care in Massachusetts is doing little to improve the lives of patients.

The report by the Health Policy Commission said between 21 percent and 39 percent of health care expenditures in 2012 could be considered wasteful.

In dollars, that translates into between $14.7 billion and $26.9 billion.

The study defined wasteful spending as health care expenditures that could be eliminated without harming consumers or reducing the quality of care.

The report said examples of waste include $700 million in preventable acute hospital readmissions, $550 million in unnecessary emergency department visits and up to $18 million in health care-associated infections.

The report also said that just 5 percent of patients account for nearly half of all health care spending in Massachusetts.


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