Still Possible for ASCs to Succeed in Light of Restrictive Policies and Programs




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Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) seemingly never get a break when it comes to reimbursement and Medicare payment policies, especially during the last decade. According to Becker’s ASC Review, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has continued to decrease the overall reimbursement payments towards ASCs since 2003. Usually a percentage of hospital outpatient departments (HOPD), according to Becker’s, the percentage has dropped dramatically:

ASCs have long been paid as a percentage of HOPD reimbursements, and that percent has declined steadily over the last decade. Here are five statistics on ASC vs. HOPD reimbursements, according to VMG Health’s 2011 ASC Intellimarker Survey.

ASC reimbursement as a percentage of HOPD reimbursement:

2003 — 87 percent

2008 — 63 percent

2009 — 59 percent

2010 — 58 percent

2011 — 56 percent


There is no denying that the challenges facing ASCs today is becoming greater by the day. If the last 10 years of continued reduction in overall reimbursement payments isn’t enough, MedPAC just released it’s recommendations for 2014 stating that ASCs should go their 2nd consecutive year with a zero percent raise in payments.

With these financial and regulatory challenges looming, it is critical for ASCs to create detailed strategies on how they can save on expenses without compromising on quality of patient care, as well as take advantage of all reimbursement opportunities.

With the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program, ASCs across the country have opportunities to meet ASCQR requirements and receive the maximum reimbursement payments possible. Though not easy, with the right management and strategic initiatives, ASCs can successfully meet the requirements and cash out on this pay-for-reporting program.

As a writer for an anesthesia blog, it is my duty to anesthetic journalism to emphasize the importance of ensuring that your ASCs anesthesia operations are leak-proof and running as efficiently as possible. As we all know, a well managed and well-oiled anesthesia machine is the heart of any OR in hospitals and outpatient facilities alike, since it is omnipresent throughout the entire perioperative process. ASCs that wish to continue successful operations through these taxing times, are recommended to re-evaluate their anesthesia operations annually.

Recently, Somnia Anesthesia released a paper with special focus on ASC and outpatient facilities. Ambulatory Anesthesia: Maximizing Quality in Any Setting discusses ways that ASCs can reach the highest levels of quality, efficiency, and revenue production in the light of emerging quality-focused regulatory policies and programs. Written by our anesthesia experts, it is a critical read for anyone managing an ASC or any other outpatient facility.

To download a copy of the paper, please click here.

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