Senate Committee Approves Judy Ward Bill to Cut Red Tape, Expand Options for Ambulatory Surgical Centers

(HARRISBURG) – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee today approved Senator Judy Ward’s (R-30) bill to cut red tape and expand options for ambulatory surgical centers (ASC).

“Pennsylvania’s regulations covering ASCs have not been updated since the 1990s, despite considerable advances in technology and health care delivery since then,” Senator Ward said. “My bill allows ASCs to perform procedures permitted by the federal government without subjecting the centers to the time-consuming and burdensome exception process. By making these important revisions, we will not only improve access to care throughout the Commonwealth, but also lower the cost of that care.”

ASCs are health care facilities focused on providing same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures. Senate Bill 818 updates the regulations to include procedures on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) procedures list. If the procedure is not on the CMS list, the center may then seek a waiver or exception from the state Department of Health. Other neighboring states treat ACSs in this manner.

 “These procedures can be safely performed in an ASC at a lower cost than in a conventional hospital setting,” Senator Ward said. “In some cases, the cost of the procedure is 40 percent less in an ASC than in a hospital – a significant savings.”

The bill will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

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Contact: Cheryl Schriner