Congress Urged to Reduce Payments for Office Visits at Hospitals

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) voted Thursday to recommend that Congress reduce Medicare reimbursement fees for office visits at hospital outpatient departments. MedPAC wants the fee structure for non-emergency offices to be the same as for services provided in a physician’s office. An assessment of the current structure shows that routine visits, consultations and preventive medicine visits that are performed in a hospital are paid at a much higher rate than when the same services are performed in a physician’s office. The recommendation comes as hospitals are hiring more private practice physicians to work in hospitals, resulting in more office visits to outpatient departments, according to a report in

During its two-day meeting this week, MedPAC assessed a variety of Medicare payment structures and services that included ambulatory surgical centers, outpatient dialysis clinics, hospice services, skilled nursing facilities, and long-term care. A transcript of the proceedings will be available at in a few days.

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