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CMS Final Rule Met With Mixed Reviews From ASC Leaders

CMS' announcement that Medicare payments in 2012 will increase by 1.6 percent to ASCs and 1.9 percent to hospital outpatient departments has met with "mixed reviews," according to an AAPC report.

Under the final rule, ASC payment rates will increase by 1.6 percent, reflecting the consumer price index for all consumers estimated at 2.7 percent, minus a 1.1 percent productivity adjustment (as required by the federal healthcare reform law).

Despite the payment increase, the Ambulatory Surgery Association expressed disappointment in certain aspects of the final rule. The ASCA criticized CMS for continuing to use a flawed measurement (CPI-U) in setting the ASC rates.

The final rule also established a quality report program for surgery centers and will adopt five quality measures — four outcome measures and one surgical infection control measure — beginning in 2012 for the 2014 payment determination. ASCs that fail to report data in 2012 would face a 2 percent payment reduction in 2014.

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