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Outpatient Care

What is outpatient care?

Outpatient care refers to any healthcare consultation, procedure, treatment, or other service that is administered without an overnight stay at a hospital or medical facility. Unlike inpatient care, patients receiving outpatient care are free to leave the medical facility once the service or procedure is complete.

Outpatient care is administered in various outpatient facilities such as primary care clinics, community health centers, urgent care clinics, and ambulatory surgery centers.

What are examples of outpatient care?

A routine primary care visit is a common example of outpatient care. Other examples of outpatient care include:

Certain surgical procedures, such as dental surgery, gastric bypass, breast augmentation, hip and knee replacements, and other procedures, can often be performed at outpatient facilities.

What types of outpatient care does insurance cover?

Hospital outpatient care service coverage varies based on a patient’s health insurance plan. Medicare Part B, for example, covers the following medically necessary hospital outpatient services:

Why is outpatient care important?

One of the greatest advantages of outpatient care is that it is more cost-effective than inpatient services. Overnight inpatient stays are often more expensive and require higher demands for hospital labor, medical equipment, beds, and food.

Outpatient care also allows patients to recover from treatments and procedures in the comfort of their own homes. This leads to improved patient experiences, as well as reduced risks of hospital-acquired conditions or healthcare-associated infections.