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Historically, the U.S. health care system has had different payment methodologies, depending on the care setting. Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies typically have been paid under a prospective payment system model, while outpatient care typically has been reimbursed on a fee-for-service or discounted fee-for-service basis.

FFS, which has been used for decades, directs health care insurers to pay health care professionals for each intervention provided to the patient. (Discounted FFS, typically within managed care arrangements, calls for discounts on regular FFS fees when patients use in-network providers.) Critics of FFS — as described in the June 5, 2014, Forbes article "More Health Care Is Better Health Care: Myth or Reality?" — long have argued that it incentivizes health care professionals to provide and bill for the highest number of health care services per patient during each visit, even if the need for such services is not indicated.

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