ASPS Supports Ambulatory Surgery Center Legislation
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons sent a letter of support to Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.-2) regarding his legislation, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Quality and Access Act of 2015.
This legislation would require The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to modernize the payment system for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) so that payment is based on the hospital market basket. Medicare pays ASCs 55 percent of the hospital outpatient department rate for the same procedure, in part due to outdated payment formulas. This change is an attempt to remove payment disparities that exist in part due to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) model which currently determines ASC payments.
ASPS strongly supports efforts to update Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) payments based on the hospital market basket because it is a better measure of the true inflation of the costs of procedures and related services. Ambulatory Surgery Center payments should be based on this model in order to more accurately account for the cost increases they face and ensure they remain available for patients.
While the formula for payment may change, ASCs will continue to produce savings for Medicare under the transition to the hospital market basket, because their payments are already structurally lower. This change will keep the growing gap between hospital and ASC payments from spiraling to a level that jeopardizes the viability of non-hospital surgical settings.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons also supports the measure's provisions to improve transparency. Publicly available data on quality measures and co-pays will allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the relative cost to the health system and to patients of procedures performed in hospitals and ASCs. Additionally, improved transparency in the CMS review process regarding excluded procedures will create room for discussion on the merits of procedures.
ASPS also supports the addition of an ASC representative to the Hospital Outpatient Payment Advisory Panel.