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Health Care

Japan plans subscription model to promote primary care

Aim is to reduce frequent hospital visits while encouraging regular checkups

The concept of primary care is just beginning to take hold in Japan, where a universal health care program guarantees access to all care providers.

TOKYO -- Japan is considering adopting a flat monthly fee system for visits with primary care doctors, seeking to rein in the overuse of big hospitals that has contributed to ballooning medical spending.

Patients would register with a particular provider and pay a fixed amount for regular services, similar to the direct primary care model emerging in the U.S. Consultations with other doctors, such as visits to hospitals or specialists, would cost extra.

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