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Eliminating Medicare Payments for Specialist Consults Increased Spending by 6.5%

A recent study suggest that eliminating Medicare payments for specialist consultations increased spending on both primary care physician and specialist visits, according to Medical Xpress.

Before 2010, Medicare payments for consultations were higher than for comparable office visits billed by primary care physicians. Medicare eliminated the consultation payments from Part B and increased fees for office visits in January 2010 in attempts to be budget neutral.

The move increased overall spending on outpatient encounters by 6.5 percent in 2012. An average of $10.20 more was spent per beneficiary per quarter on physician encounters while volumes did not change significantly.

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