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Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Enrollment as a Hospital During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency - April 6, 2020

On April 3, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to state survey agencies on how to process ambulatory surgical center (ASC) requests to temporarily enroll as hospitals during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This guidance followed CMS’s communications of: 

  • blanket waiver of Section 1135 of the Social Security Act (SSA) for ASCs to enroll as hospitals, so long as the ASC meets the conditions of participation and other requirements not waived by CMS; and
  • blanket waiver of Section 1877 of the SSA for physician owners of an ASC that enrolled as a hospital to refer to that ASC. 

The agency’s effort is part of the ongoing federal response to provide regulatory flexibility to health care providers in order to, among other things, increase hospital bed capacity during the public health emergency. 


Each ASC should carefully evaluate whether conversion is appropriate for the facility’s operations, and if so, whether the center can meet Medicare participation requirements for hospitals, which include certain nursing staff infection control and respiratory service standards, as well as applicable state licensure and public health emergency plans. 


If you have questions about this development, or any other COVID-19 matter, please visit our COVID-19 Legal Resources Page or reach out to your attorney.



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