New England News
6:47 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

State Officials Vote on Emergency Regulations For Massachusetts Ambulatory Sugery Centers

 The decision given Wednesday from the state’s Public Health Council, an independent panel of health professionals including doctors and advocates assembled under the Department of Public Health, has upset Ambulatory Surgery Centers in Massachusetts. Ambulatory Surgery Centers, or ASC’s, are privately-owned, tax-paying health care facilities that often provide cheaper care and services than what hospitals can offer.

The emergency regulations voted on by the Public Health Council have to do with the state’s Determination of Need requirements. ASC’s, must now undergo a review by the State before any expansions of the businesses can take place, similar to the state’s hospitals.

Linda Rahm, President of the Massachusetts Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, and operator of her own ASC, says the requirements are antiquated and could eliminate ASC’s cost advantage over hospitals.

Rahm continued that she thinks the State did not an adequate job of addressing the real issue of lowering health care costs for Massachusetts residents.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association supported the notion for the State to set Determination of Need requirements for the ASCs. In a statement provided, the organization wrote, “These regulations would ensure a level playing field for providers by ensuring that the determination of need for an ambulatory surgical center is reviewed in an equal and appropriate manner regardless of whether the center is seeking to provide one or more services.” 

A representative able to speak with WAMC directly was unavailable in time for broadcast.

In a written statement provided to WAMC by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, they said that the goal of the decision was “to simply codify longstanding DPH guidance for Ambulatory Surgical Centers and their relation to the Determination of Need (DON) process, and seek to clarify any potential confusion among the ASC provider community.”

Any immediate effects on the ASC community remain to be seen.

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