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Steve Blades

When I wrote an article two years ago for Cardiovascular Business (Sept/Oct 2008, page 40), I outlined the potential impact the severe 2008-2010 Medicare cuts would have on non-hospital outpatient cath labs (OPCLs). At that time, three OPCL members of the Cardiovascular Outpatient Center Alliance (COCA), an educational and advocacy association, had decided to either sell to local hospitals or close their doors. I anticipated that many more would likely follow their lead if COCA could not educate CMS to change the reimbursement mechanism for OPCLs.

In recent months, at least three non-hospital outpatient cath labs performed their last cardiac catheterization procedures. Faced with rising costs and looming reimbursement cuts, these physician-driven independent outpatient facilities made the difficult decision to close their doors for good.