Task force to address ASCs, specialty hospitals

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has formed a new task force to address the challenges from the growth of physician-owned specialty hospitals and other limited service providers, including ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).

The Task Force on Delivery System Fragmentation succeeds an earlier AHA task force that investigated niche provider issues and helped lead Congress to place an 18-month moratorium on development of new specialty hospitals. William Petasnick, president and CEO of Froedtert and Community Health in Milwaukee, will chair the group.

According to an AHA issue paper on limited-service providers obtained by Same-Day Surgery, the AHA’s priorities are:

  • Extend the 18-month moratorium to allow Congress to consider and act on studies related to limited-service providers.
  • Limit further physician self-referral.
  • Require physicians to disclose the nature of any financial interest they have in a health care-related entity to which they refer patients.
  • Require comparable federal quality standards and mechanisms for enforcing them where there are similar clinical practices occurring in inpatient, outpatient, and specialty service settings (such as ASCs).
  • Require a formal transfer agreement for ASCs and specialty hospitals that don’t have a full-time emergency department.

"The AHA has appointed a task force to assess the current environment and consider how these recommended actions should be expanded to address escalating growth in limited-service providers and ways in which community hospitals and physicians can work together to meet all the needs of their communities," the issue paper said.