ASCA Urges Compliance with January 1, 2012, Medicare Safe Surgery Checklist Requirement


The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) is urging Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) across the country to make certain that they are using a “safe surgery checklist" beginning on January 1, 2012.

The recent emphasis on the use of a safe surgery checklist in ASCs as of January 1, 2012, is tied to Medicare’s new quality reporting program, which was announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2011 and is set to begin in 2012. Under that program, in 2013, all Medicare-certified ASCs will be required to report whether or not they used a “safe surgery checklist" during the entire year of 2012. For an ASC to be able to report “yes," the ASC must begin using the checklist no later than January 1, 2012, and continue using it all year through.  Additionally, the report on the use of a safe surgery checklist will be a yearly requirement in the Medicare quality reporting program in the future. 

“Although an ASC will not face financial penalties if the report it files in 2013 indicates that it did not use this checklist in 2012, CMS intends to make these reports public," says ASCA Executive Director William Prentice. “As an industry, we are proud of the exceptional patient care we provide and the outstanding patient outcomes ASCs report.  Being able to report wide-scale use of safe surgery checklists will further strengthen our record of quality care."

ASCs that fail to meet Medicare’s new quality reporting requirements that start in 2012 will be subject to Medicare payment reductions in future years. To assist ASCs in meeting these requirements, ASCA is providing a number of resources, including responses to some Frequently Asked Questions, sample checklists and educational webinars. Please visit for more information.

If you work in an ASC and have a safe surgery checklist that you would like to share with ASCs across the country, please send a copy by email to Please include the following information in the main email message that accompanies the material that you send: “I understand that sharing the attached safe surgery checklist with ASCA means that I am willing and authorized to share it with a broad public audience and, hereby, grant the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association permission to publish the checklist on the association’s website and elsewhere, as appropriate."


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