Is CMS reversal on rates and inpatient-only list a sign of things to come?

After announcing a plan to eliminate the inpatient-only list, last year CMS eventually reversed its stance — keeping the list, adding more procedures to it, and frustrating ASC leaders nationwide.

Andrew Lovewell, administrator at the Surgical Center at Columbia (Mo.) Orthopaedic Group and CEO of the Lodge at Keene Street, told "Becker's ASC Review Podcast" that he has the feeling it could be the start of a trend.

Note: This is an edited excerpt. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Question: What trends are you following most closely right now?

Andrew Lovewell: I think the most interesting trends I am following —they're probably similar for many other ASC administrators — but for me [a big one is] the ASC and hospital outpatient department rates and the inpatient-only list.

When we talk about the ASC and HOPD rates and the inpatient-only list, I honestly got a pretty big unsettling feeling that what CMS finalized in the 2022 final rule is just a starting point. It's kind of funny because CMS just recently had a plan to eliminate the inpatient-only list altogether. And that was extremely celebrated among ASC administrators, but now we fast forward and their plan to eliminate it is all of a sudden gone. In fact, they're putting procedures back on the inpatient-only list without any rationale whatsoever. 

So I guess for me, there's maybe a fear that we have an approach of being non-progressive and [not] trending toward what consumers are actually demanding today.

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