July 23, 2019
Use These Free Resources to Market Your ASC
Two new tools, available now, can help you tell prospective patients about the outstanding care and value your ASC provides. Both tools are free, and both were developed to help patients who need outpatient surgery make smart decisions about where to get the care they need.
“What Is an ASC?” Flyer
The first of the two tools—a colorful, one-page fact sheet created by ASCA—answers the question “What Is an ASC?” The flyer discusses the high-quality care and cost savings ASCs offer and the reasons that ASCs are “the right choice for the right patients at the right price.” ASCs can download the flyer as a PDF file and print copies to place in their waiting rooms to give the friends and family members of their patients a chance to learn more about ASCs. Physicians who work in an ASC can hand the flyers to patients who are considering surgery to introduce them to ASCs and some of the reasons patients and physicians choose them.
A special edition of the flyer is available for ASCs that want to use it to introduce their elected and appointed officials to the ASC model of care. This edition of the flyer includes source citations for the facts listed on the sheet and additional information about cost savings in the ASC setting. For an electronic copy of the special edition flyer, contact Adam Parker, ASCA manager, grassroots and political affairs.
Procedure Price Lookup Tool
The second tool is an online Procedure Price Lookup tool released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last fall. This resource makes it easy for consumers to compare Medicare prices for procedures performed in both ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs).
The CMS tool shows national average prices for each procedure as well as average copays that can help patients better understand their out-of-pocket costs in both settings. ASCs that use the tool with their patients should be aware of some of the ways the tool could cause confusion and work with their patients to help them understand the results they see.
What patients need to know:
- to use the tool, they need the procedure code or the specific name of the procedure
- the prices they see are averages and will vary in different regions of the country, sometimes by as much as 15%
- the prices they see refer only to the facility fee, and they will receive additional bills for their physician’s fee, anesthesia, etc.
- the prices they see reference the primary procedure only, and the cost of procedures provided alongside the primary procedure will not be reflected
- payment rate updates might not be reflected in the tool immediately
- the prices apply only to Medicare beneficiaries, not to self-pay patients or patients covered under private insurance plans
What ASCs need to know:
- While the tool shows that the prices of most procedures and copays are lower in the ASC setting, price caps that apply only in HOPDs for a small number of procedures make the copay for some procedures, paradoxically, more expensive in ASCs. In general, these caps apply only to more complex procedures. For example, the lookup tool shows that inserting or replacing a permanent pacemaker, including upper and lower chamber electrodes, would be almost $300 less expensive for patients at an HOPD versus an ASC.
- If a procedure is searched that is not payable or is bundled, results will not be available.