The CMS today in a final rule revised the payment system for ambulatory surgical centers, basing their payments on the same methodology used for hospital outpatient departments or physicians offices.
The agency expects to make payments totaling $3 billion in 2008 to approximately 4,600 ambulatory surgery centers. In a separate proposed rule, the CMS sets the new payment rate for ambulatory surgery centers at 65% of the hospital outpatient department rate, a level that may be too low for the American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers.
The AAASC has endorsed legislation that would set reimbursement rates for Medicare at a more generous rate of 75% of the outpatient rate. The proposed rule also includes a 3.3% inflation update in Medicare payment rates for outpatient services next year, plus 10 new hospital outpatient quality measures that hospitals must report in 2008 in order to get full outpatient reimbursement. -- by Jennifer Lubell