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Need a big-picture take on how Medicare payment works in various settings? The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission offers an updated resource that can help.

Now available for free download: MedPAC's latest version of "Payment Basics," a series of informational sheets that describe the need-to-know elements of 20 different Medicare payment systems. Areas covered include outpatient therapy, skilled nursing facilities, home health services, hospital acute inpatient services, and more. The newest version of the resource updates the 2019 edition.

Most information sheets provide background on how the payment system is organized and flowcharts for a visual representation of how that system works.

Quick facts from MedPAC Payment Basics: According to the MedPAC report on outpatient therapy, in 2018 Medicare spent $8.7 billion on outpatient therapy services, an 8% increase from 2017. Physical therapist services accounted for 72% of all spending in this area. In terms of settings, nursing facilities and physical therapy private practice clinics accounted for 72% of the spending, at 38% and 34%, respectively. Hospitals were next, at 15%.

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