HHS has released a report to Congress that contains a plan to implement a value-based purchasing program under Medicare for ambulatory surgery centers.
HHS offers value-based purchasing plan for ASCs
In the 33-page framework (PDF), the CMS said it will consider a phased-in time frame for implementing an ASC value-based purchasing program and that initial efforts could start with developing and measuring quality and establishing a quality-measure reporting program.
The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association said in a news release (PDF) that the ASC community supports some aspects of the HHS plan, including the report's acknowledgement of the importance of minimizing the reporting burden associated with value-based purchasing. Other components the group supports include claims-based reporting as one of several reporting options and a shared savings plan as a possible quality-bonus funding option.
Also, the association said the plan recognized that the quality measures developed by the ASC Quality Collaboration and endorsed by the National Quality Forum should be incorporated as quality-reporting measures in the program. Those include measures related to patient burns, patient falls in an ASC, hospital transfer/admission and several others, according to the report.
"The ASC community has long advocated for quality reporting that allows for meaningful comparisons across surgical settings, and we are pleased to see this initiative advance,” Dr. David Shapiro, board chairman of the ASC Association, said in a news release. "We remain concerned, however, that this report suggests that the quality program will not be implemented in the near future, and we would like to see that timetable stepped up."
According to HHS, the number of Medicare-certified ASCs was 5,175 in 2008, a 3.7% increase in the number of facilities from 2007. ASCs served 3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries in 2008, which was 2.8% increase from the previous year. Meanwhile, physicians and/or investors opened an average of 331 new facilities annually between 2003 and 2008.
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