Much of the rise in healthcare spending is being driven by outpatient services, particularly those offered at specialty hospitals, whether physician-owned or owned by general acute-care hospitals, a panel of experts said. The panel members, speaking today at a conference held by the Center for Studying Health System Change, said outpatient services, at hospitals and other sites, are becoming a major component of healthcare spending. According to a study by Alliance Capital Management, all outpatient services are projected to make up 25% of all medical costs in 2003, the same as hospital inpatient services. However, outpatient services represent more than one-third of the 10.4% rise in overall healthcare costs projected for this year, while inpatient services account for about one-fifth of the growth. -- by Tony Fong
Hospital outpatient care is key cost driver: panel
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