What Does it Mean to be a Medicare Certified Surgery Center?

Did you know that most surgery centers were built and operate under adherence to copious federal, state and local rules regarding health care facilities? Many of these regulations were adapted from and similar to those governing hospitals and other trusted health care facilities.

Our ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are Medicare certified, which means each one has met rigorous national standards (known as conditions of coverage) in order to treat Medicare beneficiaries (and therefore most suitable potential patients) by being verified by an inspection or survey.

The surveyors are health care professionals who examine and assess countless aspects of the surgery center on behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). They focus on the facility itself to ensure that the physical environment is a suitable site for the delivery of surgical services. They also focus on the policies and procedures that govern the operation of the center to ensure that the facility and its staff are prepared to meet the needs of potential patients. The precise standards specify such diverse items as the size and set-up of operating rooms to the required frequency and documentation for the testing of disinfecting equipment and from the required preoperative patient assessments to the enumerated rights of patients at the surgery center.

Once in operation, Medicare certified centers are also subject to unannounced follow-up surveys, with potential repercussions including the revocation of certification (meaning Medicare patients can no longer be treated at the center) for those found to be out of compliance. Since 2010, there have been more than 500 unannounced (but routine) surveys at 240+ AMSURG surgery centers, which demonstrate our continuing adherence to the standards that protect the health and safety of the patients we serve, as well as promote ongoing quality improvements.

Our center leaders have a “To Do” list with hundreds of items to be performed on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis to monitor and ensure compliance with Medicare and other healthcare facility standards. It’s all just part of our unwavering commitment to quality patient care at AMSURG surgery centers.