'Hospitals Without Walls' gives ASCs role in COVID-19 relief — 4 industry reactions

Unveiled March 30, CMS' new "Hospitals Without Walls" initiative allows hospitals to provide inpatient care in ASCs and other temporary expansion sites as part of their COVID-19 response efforts.

Here are four comments from industry leaders, as quoted by Kaiser Health News:

William Prentice, president and CEO of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association: New regulatory waivers issued by the Trump administration "will allow hospitals to save more lives" by performing "surgeries and procedures that can't wait until the pandemic is over."

Michelle George, MSN, RN, president of the California Ambulatory Surgery Association: "We have valuable resources to lend to this crisis — whether it is staff, space, equipment, supplies or other capabilities. ASCs are coordinating with the public health teams on local and regional levels to identify how their facilities can be utilized most effectively on a case-by-case basis."

Adam Schlifke, MD, anesthesiologist at Stanford (Calif.) Medicine: "This is a great step in fighting this pandemic. … It's extremely complicated, but we are here to support all the surgery centers that will need to convert as a result of this order."

Seema Verma, CMS administrator: "Front-line healthcare providers need to be able to focus on patient care in the most flexible and innovative ways possible. This unprecedented temporary relaxation in regulation will help the healthcare system deal with patient surges by giving it tools and support to create nontraditional care sites and staff them quickly."

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