CLIENT ALERT: One Room Surgical Practices Now Required to be Licensed as Ambulatory Care Facilities

Prior to leaving office, Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill (A-4995/S-287) requiring licensure of one room surgical practices in the state of New Jersey. Existing surgical practices registered with the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners will now be overseen by the New Jersey Department of Health (the Department) and must apply to the Department for licensure as an ambulatory care facility within one year of the enactment of the law.

In order to minimize the burden associated with licensure, all surgical practices will be exempt from the ambulatory facility assessment and licensure fees. Additionally, surgical practices that are certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), or accredited by an accrediting body recognized by CMS, will not be required to meet certain physical plant and functional requirements applicable to ambulatory care facilities.

While the law presents certain challenges for surgical practices, it also presents a number of opportunities for both registered surgical practices and existing licensed facilities. Specifically, the law provides a vehicle for expansion by permitting combinations among one-room surgical practices and licensed facilities which were otherwise prohibited by the current moratorium. Moreover, surgical practices may also be able to avail themselves of certain benefits available to licensed ambulatory care facilities, including allowing non-owners to utilize the facility and taking on non-physician partners. However, this remains an open issue given the retention of the statutory definition of “surgical practice” as a facility “established by a physician, physician professional association surgical practice, or other professional practice form specified by the [BME] . . . solely for the physician’s, association, or other professional entity’s private medical practice.”

If you have any questions regarding the new law or the licensure process, or are otherwise interested in exploring the opportunities presented thereby, please contact Frier Levitt to speak to an attorney.