Study: Outpatient Care Prices Rising As Hospitals Acquire Physician Practices

The Wall Street Journal reports that a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that as hospitals acquire more physician practices, spending on outpatient care has increased. Researchers found that the rise in outpatient costs was driven primarily by price increases, not physicians ordering or performing more outpatient services.

The Boston Globe reports the study, conducted by Harvard Medical School researchers, “found that when small doctors’ practices join large hospitals, their patients pay an average of $75 more every year for outpatient services like check-ups.” The article adds that the “steady march of doctors into hospitals could continue thanks to the Affordable Care Act,” which “encouraged the integration of different parts of the health care system in the hope that it will reduce costs.”

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