3 things to know about cardiology in ASCs: 'The total joints of tomorrow'

Three experts shared their insights on the potential migration of cardiac procedures to ASCs:

1. Jessica Nantz, president of Spring, Texas-based Outpatient HealthCare Strategies:

"Cardiac procedures are the total joints of tomorrow for ASCs. In the final 2019 payment rule, a revision by CMS of the definition of 'surgery' resulted in the addition of 12 cardiac catheterization diagnostic procedures to the Medicare ASC payable list. CMS also added five other procedures often performed alongside those cardiac catheterization procedures.

While some ASCs are already performing cardiac procedures, the final rule provides further support for migrating select cardiac procedures out of the hospital and into the ASC. With private payers showing an appetite for covering these types of procedures, we anticipate seeing a surge in the number of ASCs — particularly those that are more innovative and aggressive — performing more cardiac procedures as CMS adds even more of them to their approved procedure list in the coming year(s)."

2. Jeff Dottl, principal for Physicians Surgery Centers:

"I think that with CMS’ demonstrated willingness to expand the library of cardiology CPT codes available to ASCs, we will see more codes and procedures to follow. However, it is tough to say when. Governmental agencies aren’t known for taking quick action, which is sometimes a good thing. It is no secret, at least to those that read trade publications like Becker’s ASC, that ASCs are a very safe place for patients to have important and increasingly higher acuity surgical procedures. I doubt that we will see CMS open up a fire hydrant of CPT codes in the next year or two, but it is probably safe to assume that if we continue to safely perform these procedures, the data will eventually speak for itself and drive future expansion of the specialty."

2. Ronald Hirsch, MD, vice president of regulations and education group for R1 RCM:

"I don't think the migration could come soon enough for the ASCs, but the logistics can be daunting. Many ASCs are running at near capacity, so finding the space and the funding to add a completely new service line with its own specialized equipment will be a challenge. Then, recruiting and credentialing physicians will take time and effort. And, of course, adding new partners to the ASC's corporation is certain to require time and effort from their financial and legal colleagues."

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