Medicare rules would overhaul outpatient payments

David Zalubowski / AP

That thud you just heard Thursday was the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services dropping two proposed rules, nearly 1,500 pages between them, that would adjust Medicare payments for outpatient facilities, clinics and physicians.

Big takeaways: One of the primary changes would scale back what's known as the 340B drug program, which allows hospitals to buy outpatient drugs at cheaper rates. The policy would hurt hospitals by requiring them to pay more for outpatient drugs. Another proposed policy would allow lucrative knee replacement surgeries to take place in outpatient departments and surgery centers instead of exclusively in a hospital.

Read the full outpatient rule and physician fee rule (public comments are due Sept. 11), and read on for other highlights.