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Ancillary Services

What are ancillary services?

Ancillary services are supportive or diagnostic measures that supplement and support a primary physician, nurse, or other healthcare provider in treating a patient.

Some examples of ancillary services include:

  • Imaging tests (e.g., X-rays, MRI, CT scan, ultrasound)
  • Lab tests
  • Pharmacies
  • Physical therapy

Ancillary services are typically found in medical offices, hospitals, or free-standing diagnostic testing facilities. Additionally, a patient may have to go to a separate facility to receive ancillary services. For example, a primary care physician may refer a patient to an imaging center for an X-ray.

How are ancillary services important in healthcare?

Ancillary services are services that physicians may request to help diagnose or treat a patient. Without ancillary services, physicians would be unable to diagnose many health conditions or provide treatment to improve patient well-being.

The three categories ancillary services fall into include:

  • Diagnostic: assist the physician or healthcare provider in diagnosing or detecting an illness or medical condition (e.g., audiology, radiology, clinical laboratory services, pulmonary testing services).
  • Therapeutic: help to improve the health and well-being of the patient (e.g., speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy).
  • Custodial: assist patients as they recover from an injury or chronic illness, or are offered to patients for life because of a disability or illness (e.g., home health care, hospice, nursing homes).