ASC closures, contracts & conversions amid the COVID-19 crisis: 8 recommendations

The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care provided guidance for ASCs choosing to temporarily close, contract with a hospital or convert to a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eight highlights:

1. ASCs that temporarily close can lease or sell equipment and supplies to hospitals that need them.

2. CMS won't consider it a cessation of business if an ASC temporarily closes because it provides elective or nonemergency treatments.

3. ASCs that temporarily close should provide notice on their website or social media pages.

4. ASCs are encouraged to review their lease agreement and malpractice coverage before permitting a hospital to use their space.

5. ASCs contracting with hospitals should consider a short-term agreement that describes when the hospital must vacate and how any potential liability will be allocated. Contracts should also include the scope of service.

6. ASCs should determine an acceptable level of acuity before converting to a hospital and create policies to fulfill contract agreements. AAAHC recommends identifying what state and local hospitals need, then examining what internal capacity is necessary to meet those needs.

7. ASCs that convert to hospitals will have their ASC billing privileges deactivated while they're enrolled and reimbursed as a hospital.

8. ASCs converting to hospitals must meet the hospital conditions of participation for nursing, pharmaceuticals, infection control and respiratory services, among others.


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