Bill Sponsors Reintroduce Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act

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Bill Sponsors Reintroduce Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act

The ASC legislation will help surgery centers serve more Medicare patients

Congressmen Brad Wenstrup, DPM (R-OH), and John Larson (D-CT) reintroduced the bipartisan, bicameral Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act of 2023 in the US House of Representatives (H.R. 972) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), introduced the legislation in the US Senate (S. 312) last week.

“Patients shouldn’t be charged more for a procedure just because it was performed by an outpatient provider,” Blumenthal said in a congressional press release. “The current restrictions on ambulatory surgery centers are an unnecessary burden—limiting seniors’ access to care and driving up healthcare costs. Our bill will ensure patients have access to the quality care they deserve and save taxpayers money.”

The legislation specifically seeks to increase Medicare patients’ access to ASCs, ensure adequate reimbursement and provide better quality metrics across sites of care.

“Seniors deserve the best care possible,” said Cassidy, in the release. “Our bill provides quality care for patients at a better value to the taxpayer by increasing Medicare access to ambulatory surgical centers.”

Provisions in the legislation would

  • require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to publish relevant quality data in a way that allows patients to compare quality across sites of service;
  • eliminate the copay penalty Medicare beneficiaries pay for certain Part B services when they are provided in an ASC;
  • provide transparency regarding the criteria CMS is using to exclude procedures from the ASC Covered Procedures List;
  • add an ASC representative to CMS’ Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment, which makes decisions that affect both hospital outpatient department (HOPD) and ASC facility fees and eligible procedures; and
  • align the inflation update and budget neutrality adjustment for ASCs and HOPDs.

“As a physician, I understand how important it is that patients receive the care they need,” said Wenstrup, in the release. “Ambulatory surgical centers play an important role in providing this care and this bill will improve access to these vital facilities.”

Wenstrup and Larson serve on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which is one of two committees of jurisdiction for the bill, the other being Energy and Commerce. Cassidy serves on the Senate Committee on Finance, the committee of jurisdiction for this legislation.

“I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce this legislation to expand access to outpatient surgical care, saving Connecticut residents and Americans across the country valuable dollars,” said Larson, in the release. “This bill is another step in ensuring quality and accessible care, while ensuring seniors’ tax dollars are spent wisely.”

ASCA is proud of its congressional relationships cultivated over the years, and excited to work with its bipartisan supporters in Congress once again to ensure Medicare beneficiaries’ continued access to high-quality outpatient surgery.

“We want to thank the sponsors of the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act for this effort to reduce Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs and put the program on more stable footing,” said ASCA Chief Executive Officer Bill Prentice. “Increasing access to care in surgery centers will reduce Medicare expenses and free up dollars for other health priorities.”

Write David Opong-Wadee, ASCA’s legislative and political affairs manager, with any questions.