Medicare patients who receive care in a hospital outpatient department are more likely to come from medically underserved populations and be sicker and more complex to treat than Medicare patients treated in independent physician offices and ambulatory surgical centers, according to a study by KNG Health Consulting released today by the AHA, underscoring why proposals to compensate hospitals and health systems the same as IPOs and ASCs under Medicare would threaten patient access to care. 

“Hospitals and health systems provide around-the-clock care — including emergency services — to all who come to us,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “This includes the sickest patients and those left behind economically in our communities. Medicare already reimburses hospitals, which have more comprehensive licensing, accreditation and regulatory requirements than independent physician offices and ambulatory surgical centers, less than the cost of providing care.”

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