Massachusetts Medical Society, Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers Applaud State Officials on New Regulations

Contacts:
MMS: Richard Gulla, 781-434-7101 rgulla@mms.org  
MAASC: Ronna Wallace, 617-721-5655 ronnawallace5@gmail.com

Waltham/Boston – The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) and the Massachusetts Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (MAASC) today applauded new regulations for ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) approved by the State Public Health Council that will promote greater patient access to high-quality care and provide opportunities for lower-cost surgical care.

The new regulations eliminate a 20-year moratorium on freestanding ambulatory surgery centers in the state and will allow all currently licensed ASCs to apply for a Determination of Need (DON) certificate without affiliation or in a joint venture with an acute care hospital.  The affiliation/joint venture provision was a requirement of the previously proposed regulations.  The DON program, operated and overseen by the Department of Public Health, is designed to ensure that capital health care projects are commensurate with the health care needs in a given geographic area.

MMS President James S. Gessner, M.D. and MAASC President Gregory DeConciliis, in a joint statement, said “We applaud Governor Baker, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Dr. Monica Bharel, Commissioner of Public Health, and members of the Public Health Council for their thoughtful and careful consideration in establishing these new regulations.”

“They have responded to many concerns of the physician community in approving these new rules. Patients will gain greater access to care, and providers will benefit from a level playing field for freestanding ambulatory surgery centers and be better able to meet the needs of patients.”    

Both the MMS and MAASC provided extensive comments in September on the proposed regulations. The groups expressed strong concern about the provision that would allow new centers only if they were affiliated with or in a joint venture with an acute care hospital.  Saying that the provision would hinder patient access and contribute to higher health care costs, the groups urged state officials to reconsider, and the proposal was eliminated from the final regulations. 

Ambulatory surgery centers are independent providers that include multi-specialty, single-specialty, and laser surgery centers across the state. Association members provide care to 300,000 patients in the Commonwealth annually.  All centers are certified by Medicare and either the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care or The Joint Commission, the latter two being independent organizations that develop standards for patient safety and quality care and certify health care organizations and programs throughout the United States.   

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