Medicare fee-for-service spending increased 2.3% between 2015-16

Medicare fee-for-service hospital spending increased slightly between 2015 and 2016 — by 2.3 percent, according to an analysis from the Medicare Payment Advisory Council.

MedPAC reported access to care remains high among fee-for-service beneficiaries, the shift in care from inpatient to outpatient continues, and occupancy rates are low in most hospitals.

Here are 13 more things to know about fee-for-service Medicare payments between 2015 and 2016, based on the MedPAC analysis.

  • Inpatient hospital care declined 2.8 percent per beneficiary
  • Among inpatient care, surgical cases increased while medical cases declined
  • Outpatient use increased 1.1 percent per beneficiary
  • Chemotherapy administration grew 7.3 percent
  • Clinic visits grew 3.9 percent
  • Emergency department visits increased 1.9 percent
  • Overall occupancy rates stayed at 62 percent, unchanged from 2015
  • Rural hospital occupancy declined slightly from 2015, to 40 percent
  • Readmission rates declined to 14.4 percent in 2016 from 15.2 percent in 2015
  • Mortality rates were down to 6.7 percent from 7 percent
  • Overall Medicare margins continue to decline — margins hit -9.6 percent in 2016
  • Margins were lowest (-11.3 percent) among nonteaching hospitals
  • Margins were highest among for-profit hospitals (-2.4 percent)

MedPAC is an independent federal committee that advises Congress on Medicare issues.


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