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What the Rise in Outpatient Care Means for You

Published November 5, 2015

A growing trend in U.S. hospitals today is the rise in visits to outpatient clinics. Outpatient services are medical procedures, tests or therapies that can be performed in a medical center without an overnight stay.

Often, many procedures and tests can be accomplished in just a few hours. Depending on the facility, outpatient services may include diagnostics such as MRI scans and lab tests, treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy and a range of physical and occupational rehabilitation.

Outpatient visits increased 1.2 percent to more than 787 million in 2013, while inpatient admissions declined by 2 percent to about 35.4 million, according to annual statistics from the American Hospital Association cited in Modern Healthcare. This trend continued into 2014 and is expected to accelerate in the future as more medical care shifts to outpatient settings.

Outpatient care has become more common due to several factors. New technologies and better drugs have allowed medical tests, procedures and therapies to be provided outside of acute care settings. Changes in insurance reimbursement rules and the adoption of alternative payment models, such as accountable care organizations, have incentivized providers to deliver high quality, affordable care across the continuum while reducing the number and length of inpatient stays and visits to the emergency department. With the shift to outpatient care comes a greater focus on prevention and providing coordinated, streamlined care in settings that are convenient and accessible to patients.

There are a number of reasons why outpatient services may be helpful. They enable former inpatients to continue their progress and reach their recovery goals, while community residents can gain access to those same services with a referral from their physician. Because hospitals frequently offer outpatient care in clinics in satellite locations, as Burke does, you may be able to choose a facility that’s closer to home. Another advantage of outpatient services is that all of the care you need for a procedure or therapy is conveniently provided in one place. And because outpatient centers tend to specialize in a particular treatment, the staff is well-trained to provide that care and will work with you to develop a program specifically tailored to your needs. Plus, outpatient services are usually cost effective, since you don’t need to stay overnight and pay for hospital costs.

To meet the growing demand for outpatient therapy, Burke opened two additional satellite clinic locations in 2013, located at the Town Center in Somers and at Ridge Hill in Yonkers. Along with these news sites, Burke also has clinics at their main hospital campus in White Plains, as well as Purchase, Mamaroneck and the Bronx.

Burke’s Outpatient Department services include physical and occupational therapy, speech, language and swallowing therapy,cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, an arthritis center, osteoporosis screening and memory evaluation and treatment, driver evaluation program and home safety assessment program, among others.

For more information about Burke’s six outpatient locations and services, click here.

Burke's Rehab Insights blog is updated every Tuesday with a new post focused on rehabilitation, wellness, nutrition, therapy and more. Find it here

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