The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) commends the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for passing the 21st Century Cures Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by U.S. Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), includes two key provisions that benefit Medicare patients and the physicians who care for them in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).
The first provision, Section 4012, directs the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a public, searchable website that allows Medicare beneficiaries to compare differences in their out-of-pocket costs and in the total expenses for various surgeries when those procedures are performed in hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and ASCs.
The second provision, Section 16003, protects physicians who practice in an ASC from potential penalties tied to the Medicare meaningful use program. Current law requires Medicare providers to adopt and use certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) for a fixed percentage of their patients; unfortunately, no CEHRT is currently available for ASC encounters. As a result, physicians who bring patients to ASCs could face cuts in their professional fees even though meeting the program’s threshold is not possible in the ASC setting. This legislation protects physicians who perform surgery in ASCs and authorizes HHS to approve CEHRT for the ASC setting.
“Patients benefit when they know their out-of-pocket costs up front and have access to the high-quality, cost-effective care that ASCs deliver,” said William Prentice, chief executive officer of ASCA. “I commend Congress for recognizing the value that ASCs provide by including these two important provisions.”
ASCs provide high-quality, innovative care to millions of patients across the country each year while saving billions of dollars in copays and health care costs. Learn more at www.advancingsurgicalcare.com.