Medicare will pay ambulatory surgery centers at 65% of the hospital outpatient department ratewith some exceptionsunder a final rule issued by the CMS.
While some centers may benefit under the rule, othersparticularly single-specialty ASCs that specialize in gastroenterologyare expected to experience drastic cuts in payments, according to Kathy Bryant, president of ASC trade association FASA.
For certain procedures, however, the 65% rate wont apply. Bryant said that ASCs would actually be getting paid more than the 65% rate for 45 device-intensive procedures, but less for 365 procedures frequently performed in physicians offices. In addition, 3,390 procedures will be payable in the ASC setting in 2008, an increase of 819 over the number currently payable in ASCs.
In general, the final rule updates the hospital outpatient prospective payment system in 2008. Under the rule, hospitals would receive an overall increase in Medicare payments in 2008 to $36 billion from $32.7 billion this year. (For more on ASCs, see the Modern Healthcare story "ASCs: We can't drive 65".) -- by Jennifer Lubell
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