More care shifting from office to outpatient settings, HCCI finds

  • Healthcare services performed in outpatient settings grew from 11.1% of care visits to 12.9% between 2009 and 2017, according to a new Health Care Cost Institute report. Echocardiograms and drug administration saw the biggest increases in outpatient setting services. Level 3 diagnostic and screening ultrasound visits in outpatient settings grew from 20.9% to 25.2% and level 5 drug administration visits increased from 23.4% to 45.9%
  • The average price for services in an outpatient setting was higher than an office setting. For instance, the average price for a level 3 diagnostic and screening ultrasound visit grew 4% in office settings from $233 to $241, while outpatient settings led to a 14% increase from $568 to $650.
  • Also, level 5 drug administration's average price increased 15% in office settings and 57% in outpatient settings. Those outpatient visits were nearly three times as expensive as an office visit. There was an even wider price difference for a level 4 endoscopy upper airway. Outpatients settings averaged $2,679 compared to $527 for an office setting in 2017.
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