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STATE | Massachusetts Looks to Lift its Moratorium on New ASCs, but with a Catch

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (Department) is considering revising the state’s Determination of Need (DoN) Program for Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs), which has instituted an outright ban on new ASCs since 1994. Unfortunately, the proposed revisions contain restrictive and anti-competitive provisions that require a freestanding ASC applying for a DoN to be affiliated with an acute care hospital.

ASCs save the health care system and the U.S. Government a great deal of money. A recent review conducted by the Healthcare Bluebook, a repository of commercial medical-claims data, discovered that U.S. health-care costs are reduced by more than $38 billion per-year due to the availability of ASCs as an appropriate setting for outpatient procedures. Of that $38 billion, more than $5 billion is saved directly by patients.

In its comments to the Department, ASPS outlined that the anti-competitive components of this regulation hold the potential to undermine the cost-saving benefit of ASCs in Massachusetts. ASPS is working closely with the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. Additionally, the Massachusetts Medical Society and many other stakeholders in organized medicine are engaging on this issue at the local level.

ASPS’s Comments on MA Determination of Need