This week, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) issued its annual report to Congress, recommending that ASCs be afforded no update in facility fees in 2017. MedPAC also recommended that facilities be subject to some form of Medicare cost reporting.
Because access to ASC services continues to increase and surgery centers’ access to capital has been “adequate,” MedPAC argues that an increase is not needed. Moreover, the Commission has maintained 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: surgical volume is increasing faster in HOPDs than in ASCs and 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’s reasoning is specious and its conclusions are indefensible. OOSS members should not despair — MedPAC’s recommendations for annual provider updates are frequently not adopted by Congress or CMS and this proposal represents just the opening volley in a 2017 budget battle that will play out over the next nine 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.
The entire MedPAC report can be reviewed at: Full MedPAC Report
The chapter relating to ASC issues can be reviewed at: MedPAC Chapter on ASCs
Should you have any questions, please contact our Washington Counsel, Mike Romansky, JD, at mromansky@OOSS.org