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Single Room "Surgical Practices" Must Register With NJ DHSS by April 16, 2012

March 20, 2012

Recently finalized regulations require the registration of single-room “surgical practices” with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (“DHSS”) (the “Registration Regulations”). The Registration Regulations implement certain provisions of New Jersey Public Law 2009, c.24, which, in part, placed a moratorium on new surgical practices and ambulatory care facilities (for additional information regarding the 2009 law, click here). In addition to the standards for initial registration, the Registration Regulations include requirements with respect to the annual registration renewal, transfer of ownership, and relocation of surgical practices. As discussed in further detail below, a surgical practice currently in operation is required to either register with DHSS or close by April 16, 2012.

“Surgical Practice” Definition

A “surgical practice” is generally defined as a structure or suite of rooms, including an unlicensed entity certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) as an ambulatory surgery center provider, that:

• Has no more than one operating room that is specially equipped to perform surgery and designed and constructed to accommodate invasive diagnostic and surgical procedures;
• Has one or more post-anesthesia care units or a dedicated recovery area, which includes the operating room if used for recovery, where the patient may be closely monitored and observed until discharged; and
• Is established by a physician, physician professional association surgical practice or other professional practice form that is recognized in regulation by the State Board of Medical Examiners solely for the physician’s, association’s or other professional entity’s private medical practice.

To determine whether a facility is a “surgical practice,” several factors must be considered, such as the type of anesthesia used in the facility.

Registration/Application Requirements

Currently operating surgical practices are required to either register in accordance with the Registration Regulations or close by April 16, 2012. Registration is required to be renewed annually. To register, a surgical practice must submit a completed surgical practice application, which requires the submission of certain information including:

• Identification of the owners of the facility;
• Information regarding the facility’s (i) certification from CMS as an ambulatory surgery center; or (ii) ambulatory surgery accreditation by an independent accreditation organization (such certification or accreditation is a prerequisite to registration and annual registration renewal);
• Whether the principals, owners, operators, or managers have been indicted or convicted of certain crimes; and
• If the surgical practice had not yet commenced operation by March 21, 2009, information from the municipality where the surgical practice is located documenting that the surgical practice’s plans and specifications were filed with the municipality prior to September 17, 2009.

Relation to Pending Legislation

Proposed legislation that would require full DHSS facility licensure of surgical practices, rather than registration, passed the State Legislature before being vetoed by Governor Christie in January 2012. A version of that same legislation is now being considered in the new legislative session and, if signed into law, would presumably trump the Registration Regulations. In the meantime, the Registration Regulations control and surgical practices must immediately comply.

For further information, please contact:

Nicole DiMaria | Member of the Firm | ndimaria@wolffsamson.com | (973) 530-2111

David M. Hyman | Member of the Firmdhyman@wolffsamson.com | (973) 530-2009

Daniel A. Schwartz | Member of the Firmdschwartz@wolffsamson.com | (973) 530-2005

William J. Cannici Jr. | Associate | wcannici@wolffsamson.com | (973) 530-2183