HCFA could release new ASC rates in weeks

Agency reveals drastic restructuring of present eight-tiered system

Within weeks, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) will enter a new payment era under Medicare. The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) in Baltimore expects to release details of a major restructuring of the Medicare ASC payment system, which the agency will use to reimburse 1,500 freestanding same-day surgery centers nationwide.

HCFA will explain the new system in a Federal Register filing, which could come as early as the end of March or some time in April. (A filing had been previously expected during mid-summer.) The Federal Register will contain descriptive information regarding the newly revamped system and the specific dollar amounts that Medicare will use to reimburse ASCs. HCFA will then hold a 30-day comment period before issuing a notice of final rule-making.