The American Hospital Association said it is concerned that a planned Medicare expansion of payable procedures conducted in ambulatory surgery centers ignores quality and patient safety standards that hospitals and other outpatient departments have to follow. In a comment letter sent to the CMS today, the AHA said its wants the CMS to defer implementation of ASC payment changes until the Medicare conditions of participation are revised to ensure comparable patient protections. The AHA also said that ASCs should be required to publicly report costs data.
Kathy Bryant, president of FASA, the largest association that represents ASCs, said that she is bothered by the AHAs remarks about safety. For all healthcare providers, safety should be their No. 1 concern. And I certainly think it has been in ASCs. Were not opposed to standards or accreditation, but to suggest that there isnt an excellent safety record in ASCs is certainly not looking at whats out there.
In August, CMS proposed major payment reforms for ASCs. Under the proposal, the CMS said it wants to revise the payment system for ASCs using outpatient relative payment weights as a guide. Rates would be 62% of what Medicare pays hospital outpatient departments for the same service. Bryant said FASA wants payments to be 75% of what Medicare pays outpatient departments. The deadline for comments is today. -- by Matthew DoBias