HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Releases a Report Recommending Hospital Outpatient Department (HOPD) Payment Rates be Reduced to Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment Rates for ASC-Approved Procedures 
A report released  by the US Health and Human Services Department’s (HHS) OIG yesterday found that Medicare and beneficiaries could save billions of dollars if CMS reduced the HOPD rates for ASC-approved procedures to ASC payment rates. The report found that Medicare saved almost $7 billion from 2007–2011 and will potentially save $12 billion from 2012–2017 if beneficiaries continue to use ASCs at the same rates because ASC rates are lower than outpatient department rates for surgical procedures.
The report found that Medicare could save an additional almost $15 billion from 2012–2017 if CMS reduces HOPD payment rates for ASC-approved procedures to ASC payment levels. Beneficiaries would also save money through reduced cost sharing.
The agency recommends that CMS reduce payment rates to hospitals for ASC-approved procedures furnished to patients with no-risk or low-risk clinical needs. The OIG determined that 68 percent of patients receiving surgical care in the HOPD had either no-risk or low-risk medical profiles.
The report also recommended that the agency develop and implement a payment strategy in which outpatient departments would continue to receive the standard HOPD payment rate for ASC-approved procedures that must be provided in an HOPD because of the beneficiary’s individual clinical needs.
For more details, read the full report .