CMS recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that includes proposals for policy changes and payment rates for services in ambulatory surgical centers (“ASCs”), which would continue the expansion of surgical procedures that Medicare would cover for services performed in ASCs. The proposed rule seeks to make sure that beneficiaries have access to outpatient services in all appropriate settings, while improving the quality and efficiency of service delivery.
Since January 1, 2008, ASCs have been paid under a revised payment system that aligns ASC payment rates with the rates paid for similar services when provided in hospital outpatient departments. The revised system also increases the number and types of surgical services that are covered by Medicare when performed in ASCs. Calendar year 2010 is the third year of a four-year phase-in of the ASC payment rates calculated under the standard rate-setting methodology and the first year in which CMS is authorized to apply an update to the conversion factor. CMS is projecting the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers that would update the ASC conversion factor to be 0.6 percent. Total 2010 payments to ASCs are estimated to be $3.4 billion.
CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until August 31, 2009, and will respond to comments in a final rule to be issued by November 1, 2009.
To review the proposed rule and for instructions about how to submit comments, go to: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-15882.htm
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