Cardiac Catheterization in the ASC: Strategic Considerations for Hospitals and Health Systems

Cardiac Catheterization In The Asc Web

As the US healthcare system continues to grapple with the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as states begin reopening facilities for elective procedures, healthcare providers are facing limitations on providing timely elective cardiovascular (CV) care—limitations that, coupled with the risk of COVID-19 exposure, can potentially impact morbidity and mortality.

For both urgent and elective procedures, the need for a COVID-19-free environment has escalated the demand for alternative sites of service by patients and providers.

To aid in striking the delicate balance between safe and timely care, the American Heart Association, along with 14 CV societies in North America, has offered guidance on a phased approach to safely reintroduce diagnostic and interventional CV procedures during the pandemic.1 Part of this strategy involves shifting lower-acuity and routine diagnostic procedures out of the hospital to expand inpatient capacity for sicker patients.

As pressing as it is, COVID-19 is only the most recent factor accelerating the migration of surgical procedures to outpatient (OP) settings—and it only heightens the need for hospitals to understand the complexity of merging CV services with an ambulatory surgery strategy.

An Ongoing Migration

Over the past two years, CMS has implemented ambulatory surgery center (ASC) rule changes that have the potential to dramatically alter the way hospitals and health systems run their CV service lines. As a result of those rule changes, 14 new primary cardiac catheterization and coronary intervention procedures were added to the ASC Medicare-approved list.

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This article was first published by Becker’s Hospital Review on July 20, 2020