Your otherwise informative article about UnitedHealthcare’s decision to reduce costs by requiring greater use of ambulatory surgery centers was marred by perpetuating a myth that ASCs are less regulated than hospital outpatient departments. Not true.
For example, the CMS regulatory requirements for ASCs largely mirror those for hospital outpatient departments—one reason why it was has been so easy over the years for hospitals to purchase surgery centers and relicense them as hospital outpatient departments in a matter of days.
The reason that ASCs report on only four quality measures to the CMS is that the CMS suspended four other measures (on such important subjects as wrong-site surgery, patient falls, patient burns and hospital transfers) last year because ASCs were performing so well that the agency couldn’t justify requiring further data collection.
The ASC community strongly supports reinstating those measures and adding new measures to that system that would allow for meaningful comparisons across sites of service.
Ambulatory Surgery Center Association