ASC, hospital outpatient pay rates should be the same, MedPAC says

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission proposed aligning Medicare pay rates for ASCs, hospital outpatient departments and physician offices during policy meetings April 7 and 8.

The commission plans to include the proposal in its June report to Congress, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. MedPAC said after studying MedPAC data on Medicare procedures:

1. Provider-based departments are being converted into hospital outpatient departments because Medicare pays more to outpatient departments, which increases overall costs.

2. Aligning payment across all settings for outpatient surgery would decrease costs because it wouldn't incentivize providers to send procedures to the high-reimbursement environment, but rather to the setting most fitting for the patient.

3. The hospital outpatient department tends to have higher acuity patients thanASCs and physician offices have.

4. The move to align pay rates would lower beneficiary cost-sharing.

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