Payments for outpatient services in workers' compensation increased the cost of medical payments per claim by 6.6% from 2014 to 2018, according to a report issued Thursday by the National Council for Compensation Insurance.
Overall, the cost of medical payments per claim increased by 7.5% during that period, NCCI reported.
Covering approximately one-fifth of healthcare costs, outpatient hospital payments account for an "increasingly significant" share of medical expenses, reported Boca Raton, Florida-based NCCI.
Medical advances such as fast-acting anesthetics and less invasive procedures have made it possible to perform more surgeries in an outpatient setting, such as a hospital or ambulatory surgical center, according to the report.
Overall, outpatient and outpatient facility services covered 40% of medical benefits in 201
As a cost control measure and to ensure access to hospital services, some say it has implemented fee schemes that have established maximum allowable benefits and rules for outpatient care services, according to NCCI.