AGA Washington Insider

A policy blog for GIs

Legislation Introduced to Stabilize ASC Payments

The Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act recently introduced in the House by Reps. Pete Sessions, R-TX, John Larson, D-CT, Shelley Berkley, D-NV, and Bill Cassidy, R-LA, seeks to stabilize payments and incentives for ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and better align them with hospital outpatient departments (HOPD). Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-OR, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, members of the Senate Finance Committee and strong champions for ASCs.  

The legislation would stabilize ASC payments by linking the inflationary update for payments to a hospital market basket update instead of the current consumer price index-urban, which does not accurately reflect health-care costs of ASCs. Additionally, it would create a value-based purchasing system for ASCs and a voluntary quality reporting program, similar to the physician quality reporting system, under which ASCs would have incentives to report on quality measures and also share in some of the savings for improving quality outcomes. The legislation would change the current same-day notification rule for ASCs by allowing patients “who wish to receive care sooner” to let their ASC physician “provide disclosure notifications on the same day that their procedure is to be performed” — the same notification standards that are applied to HOPDs.  

The AGA supports many of the provisions in this legislation and is hopeful that the language will be incorporated into a larger piece of legislation during this session of Congress, such as addressing the impending cuts in the Medicare physician payment fee schedule.  AGA recently met with officials from CMS on their value-based purchasing plan for ASCs to highlight the role that the AGA Digestive Health Outcomes RegistryTM can play in collecting and reporting outcome data on key GI conditions in ASCs.  

The AGA will continue to monitor this legislation and other regulatory initiatives that impact ASCs. We thank our champions in Congress for their efforts to stabilize payments to ASCs and preserve patient’s choice to utilize ASCs for their care. Look for more updates on the AGA Washington Insider and in AGA eDigest.

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