The CMS is proposing to update conditions for coverage that ambulatory surgical centers must meet in order to participate in Medicare. Considered the largest overhaul of these conditions since 1982, the year that the ASC benefit for Medicare was established, the proposed rule seeks a more comprehensive quality assessment and performance improvement program, as well as a new disaster preparedness plan standard to address emergency preparedness within ASCs. The proposal adds new requirements for radiology services that ASCs must provide to ensure they are parallel to the requirements for furnishing laboratory services.
New patient-rights conditions would address disclosure of physician financial interests in the ASC, advance directives and the grievance process and confidentiality of clinical records. Other provisions would expand infection control requirements and add a comprehensive patient assessment requirement to ensure safe surgery. The American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers praised the improvements. AAASC is delighted that CMS has proposed improvements in the Medicare conditions for coverage that reflect standards of practice that most ambulatory surgery centers already address, said Craig Jeffries, the AAASCs executive director. Comments are due 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. The rule has not been published yet.
ASCs have been subject to a number of changes to their payment system under Medicare in recent months. In July, the agency issued a series of rules that set a new compensation rate of 65% of what hospital outpatient departments get paid under Medicare. -- by Jennifer Lubell