The Health Wonk Shop: What’s Behind the Buzz about Site-Neutral Payments?

With Congress looking for ways to cut health care costs for patients and the Medicare program, one approach drawing bipartisan attention involves site-neutral payments for outpatient services. The idea is for Medicare to pay the same amount for a service regardless of where it is provided – a departure from current Medicare reimbursement policy, which generally pays higher rates for services provided in hospital outpatient departments versus independent physician offices and ambulatory surgical centers.

On June 17, a panel of experts joined Larry Levitt, KFF’s executive vice president for health policy, for a 45-minute discussion on the concept of site-neutral payments, including why it has become an issue for policymakers and private payers like insurers and employers, how Medicare payments currently work, how various proposals would change the law, and the potential impact of those changes.


  • Larry Levitt, Executive Vice President for Health Policy, KFF


  • Zack Cooper, Associate Professor of Public Health (Health Policy), Associate Professor of Economics, and Associate Professor in the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University
  • Zachary Levinson, Project Director, KFF Project on Hospital Costs, KFF
  • Ashley Thompson, Senior Vice President, Public Policy Analysis and Development, American Hospital Association

KFF’s virtual Health Wonk Shop series features in-depth policy discussions with experts that go beyond the news headlines to provide greater insights.


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