Ending indirect billing for PAs, NPs would have saved Medicare $194M

Eliminating indirect billing for nurse practitioners and physician assistants would have saved Medicare about $194 million in 2018, according to a study published in the June issue of Health Affairs

The professions represent a growing percentage of the healthcare workforce, but much of the care they provide cannot be observed in claims data because of the practice of  indirectly billing visits provided by nurse practitioners and physician assistants via a supervising physician, according to the report. 

For directly billed services, Medicare and many commercial insurers pay 85 percent to nurse practitioners and physician assistants of what is paid to a physician for the same service, according to the report. 

Small primary care practices would have seen the greatest drop in revenue if indirect billing had been eliminated, according to the report. 

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