On July 11, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 818 (“SB 818”) into law, which amends the Health Care Facilities Act to expand the number of procedures that may be performed in an ambulatory surgery center (“ASC”) and to establish shorter timeframes for Department of Health responses to requests for exceptions and waivers.

The new law expands the list of procedures that are allowed to be performed in Pennsylvania ASCs by aligning that list with those procedures contained in the 2022 Ambulatory Surgical Center Covered Procedures List (“ASC-CPL”) published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). The ASC-CPL specifies surgical procedures that CMS has determined can be appropriately and safely performed on an ambulatory basis in an ASC, critical access hospital, or hospital outpatient department. Pennsylvania ASCs no longer need to petition the Department of Health for an exception or waiver to perform a procedure already listed in the ASC-CPL unless there is another conflict with state regulations.

For those procedures that still require an exception or waiver, the new law sets shorter timeframes for a process that in some instances took months or more than one year. The Department of Health must respond to an exception or waiver request within 60 days of receipt and provide a written response to the requestor. Any denial must include specific statutory or regulatory grounds for the decision. If further information is needed to make a determination, the Department must also respond within 60 days of receiving such additional information.

SB 818 also permits cardiac catheterizations to be performed in ASCs. Previously, Pennsylvania law only allowed these procedures to be performed in acute care hospitals.

The new law will take effect on September 9th.  

Please contact Jonathan Schall at jschall@foxrothschild.com with any questions you may have about how this new Pennsylvania law may impact your ambulatory surgery center.