Hospitals bolster opposition to site-neutral payments in new study

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Moves to reimburse hospitals the same amount as physician offices may threaten access to care, according to a new study from the American Hospital Association on site-neutral payments. 

The study, conducted for the AHA by KNG Health Consulting, looked at claims data representing a 5 percent sample of Medicare beneficiaries. Claims covered inpatient, outpatient and professional services.

Three findings:

1. Medicare patients treated in hospital outpatient departments are more likely to come from lower-income areas and have chronic conditions.

2. Twenty-eight percent of hospital outpatient visits came after an emergency department visit that occurred 90 days beforehand. That's compared to 17 percent of independent physician office visits.

3. Medicare patients who visit a hospital outpatient department are 73 percent more likely to be dual eligible for Medicare and Medicaid than those who visit an independent physician office.

Read the full report here.

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