Did you know?
- CMS reports that in this “baby boomer” time, there are approximately 314,000 Medicare newly enrolled beneficiaries each month.
- Despite this, New Office Visit activity has declined by about 7.1% over the 2018-2019 period (based on data from RTMD, which now serves healthcare organizations in a Medicare beneficiary area consisting of 48 states and the District of Columbia).
- Over the same time period, the average time spent with the patient has remained constant. This affects the capacity of a provider to focus on volume and may reflect the utilization of other non-acute providers (i.e., retail clinics).
Why should I care?
- New Office Visits have always been a critical access point into the U.S. healthcare system and present an opportunity to serve.
- This encounter offers acute care facilities a strategic value around how we organize our infrastructure in terms of access, quality, and costs.
- Examining trends in New Office Visits can help raise important questions about how a hospital tailors its existing services:
- Are New Office Visits becoming more time and resource intensive, resulting in the inability to see more patients?
- Are patients seeking care in different settings, such as urgent care, extended hour facilities, or retail clinics?
- Are payment policies for testing, especially those for co-pays, driving patients to alternative settings?
- Are immunization, lifestyle, and technological advances impacting utilization?
What should I do?
RTMD advises each facility to:
- Research trends in New Office Visits in your market by volume, type (time spent), content (principal diagnosis), and reimbursement.
- Review your market for new providers that represent non-traditional physician settings, such as urgent care facilities.
- Study outmigration and referrals for New Office Visits.
- Examine your new patient and Medicare patient policies. If volume is down, determine if this is because your physicians are not accepting new Medicare patients.