July 23, 2007 - The Colorado Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (CASCA) recently applauded the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) for recognizing the vital role ASCs play in the country’s healthcare system and increasing the percentage of reimbursement rates Ambulatory Surgery Centers will receive for surgery they perform on Medicare patients starting on January 1, 2008.
Under CMS’s current ASC payment methodology, Medicare pays ASCs on the basis of a fee schedule. All surgical procedures approved for the ASC setting are assigned to one of nine payment groups that range from $333 to $1,339 based on the resource “costs” associated with the procedure. ASCs are paid based on a percentage of the rates paid to hospitals for procedures performed in their Hospital Outpatient Department (HOPD). ASCs are currently paid 62 percent of what hospitals are paid for performing the very same procedures. The new payment system recently released by the CMS increases that payment to 67 percent of fees paid to hospitals. This payment system has been only minimally updated since the inception of the Medicare ASC payment benefit in 1982.
CMS also expanded the number of procedures that ASC’s can perform and accepted the findings of a study produced by the Moran Company that showed how using Ambulatory Surgery Centers for Medicare procedures could save the program more than $1 billion.
CASCA also applauded the Federal Ambulatory Surgery Center Association’s (FASA) work in securing the increase in reimbursement rates.