Medicare Payment and Hospital Provision of Outpatient Care to the Uninsured

Health Services Research
Vol. 51, No. 4
January 2016
He, D. and Mellor, J.M.

Nonprofit and for-profit hospitals respond differently to reductions in Medicare payments; thus, studies of the impact of legislated Medicare payment cuts on care of the uninsured should account for differences in hospital ownership in communities. In her HCFO-funded study, Jennifer Mellor, Ph.D., College of William and Mary, and colleagues examined the amount of hospital outpatient care provided to the uninsured and its association with Medicare payment rate cuts following the implementation of Medicare's Outpatient Prospective Payment System. The researchers found that hospital outpatient departments provide significant amounts of care to the uninsured. Given that outpatient care to the uninsured includes preventive and diagnostic care procedures, reductions in this care following payment cuts may adversely affect long-run health and health care costs in communities dominated by nonprofit hospitals.

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