Ambulatory surgery centers fear Medicare cuts

Ambulatory surgery centers are a bit stressed after finding out that CMS wants to pay some of them as little as 65 percent of what hospital outpatient departments are reimbursed. The new regs will actually increase payment for some ASCs, but single-specialty ASCs could see a dramatic drop in income.  At the same time, though, CMS agreed to pay for 700 more ASC-based procedures, raising the number of surgical procedures covered for ASCs up to 3,300, over the heated objections of the hospital lobby.

At the moment, it appears that ASCs specializing in gastroenterology, which have previously been paid at 89 percent of the hospital outpatient rate, will be among the hardest hits. However, CMS administrators say it's still not exactly clear who will get paid what until final outpatient prospective payment system rules are announced.  Any cuts will be phased in over four years, reaching their full brunt in 2011.

To learn more about CMS's ASC plans:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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