On December 18, the staff to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommended that ASCs be afforded no update in facility fees in 2016. MedPAC staff also recommended that facilities be subject to some form of Medicare cost reporting. The Commission will take up the staff recommendations in January.
Because access to ASC services continues to increase and surgery centers’ access to capital has been adequate, MedPAC staff argues that an increase is not needed. Moreover, the Commission has believed for some time that, without some form of cost reporting for ASCs, it isn’t possible to establish an update factor that truly reflects surgery centers’ cost structure. The staff did acknowledge potentially troubling trends: that surgical volume is increasing faster in HOPDs than in ASCs and that the migration of patients from HOPDs to surgery centers is no longer occurring.
With respect to its recommendation that ASCs not be afforded an update, the Commission staff’s reasoning is specious and its conclusions are indefensible. OOSS members should not despair — MedPAC’s recommendations for provider annual updates are frequently not adopted by Congress or CMS and this proposal represents just the opening volley in a 2016 budget battle that will play out over the twelve months. The position of OOSS and the ASC community remains constant: ASCs should receive the same annual update as hospitals and cost reporting for ASCs should be rejected as unreasonably burdensome and unnecessary.
Should you have any questions, please contact our Washington Counsel, Mike Romansky, JD, at mromansky@OOSS.org.