5 key observations on NJ ASC landscape post-'One-Room Bill"

Since Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed the "One-Room Bill" in into law January, there have been more questions than answers as to the legislation's potential requirements and impact on the market.

While New Jersey remains under the Codey Law moratorium, restricting the construction of new or expansion of existing outpatient facilities without a hospital partner, the "one-room bill" requires registered one-room centers to obtain licensure and allows existing ASCs to expand by acquiring one-room centers and moving the room to their current facilities.

The New Jersey Association for Ambulatory Surgery Centers has long advocated for the bill, which was initially passed in 2012 but vetoed by Gov. Christie. Over the past month, Marcy Sasso, founder of Sasso Consulting, has spoken to several one-room centers aiming to decipher how their business will change. Here are key thoughts on the bill and new opportunities for the future:

1. The one-room centers were previously overseen by the New Jersey Board of Medical examiners, but will now need to obtain licensure. The bill gives one-room centers one year to obtain licensure, which could mean physicians nearing retirement would decide to close up shop early.

2. One-room centers are exempt from licensing fees, which eliminates one of the barriers to achieving licensure. However, there are significant additional expenses associated with compliance to achieve outside accreditation and licensure.

3. When the one-room centers are licensed, physician owners can allow non-owners to perform cases in their centers; under the prior laws, only physician owners could perform cases in one-room surgery centers.

4. Before the bill was signed into law, one-room centers were required to have physician ownership. However, the new law allows one-room centers to have ASC company owners. As a result, companies can now invest in one-room centers in New Jersey.

5. ASCs in New Jersey may decide to acquire one or more one-room centers as an expansion tool in the future. Ms. Sasso expects some centers to close due to attrition.

Additional details about making this transition are expected in late March.

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