Advocacy Spotlight

ADVOCACY SPOTLIGHT

Trail Blazing

In July, state regulators of Vermont approved a certificate of need (CON) for the first multi-specialty and second independent ASC in the state. Amy Cooper, executive director of HealthFirst in Burlington, Vermont, talked to ASC Focus about her experience with the process that took three years to come to fruition.


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One-On-One with ASCAPAC Champs

David G. Ornelas, CASC, chief operating officer at Colorado Clinic in Loveland, Colorado, volunteered as the state leader for Colorado during the “2017 If Not Now, When?” ASCAPAC State Competition. Colorado won the category of the most money raised with nearly $20,000. With a participation of 15 percent of state ASCs, Connecticut won the category with the highest percentage of participation. Lisa Winkler, executive director of Connecticut Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers and partner at Innovate and Organize in Avon, Connecticut, was the state leader.


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Lobby for Your ASC

For more than 40 years, ASCs have been providing patients with safe, affordable and innovative care. As a leader in the evolution of surgical care, ASCs not only benefit patients, but also save money for Medicare and third-party payers.


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21st Century Cures Act Becomes Law

Late last year, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes a version of the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015. The bipartisan bill, introduced by US Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Dianne DeGette (D-CO) and signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 13, 2016, is a nearly 1,000-page legislative package that provides funding for the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and opioid abuse prevention.


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Calling All State Leaders

Each year, ASCA’s State Affairs Committee hosts a gathering for state leaders and state advocates from the ASC community to learn from and network with one another. The State Affairs Committee will continue this tradition in 2017 with its State Leaders’ Workshop, a smaller, more focused discussion session than in recent years.


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Help Support Your ASC

Recent studies prove what the ASC industry already knew: ASCs provide significant savings to Medicare and its beneficiaries. A growing disparity in payments between ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs), however, is jeopardizing both the industry and patient access to high-quality, cost-efficient care.


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Advocacy Plays Critical Role in Preventing Colon Cancer

ASCA Board Member Tom Deas, Jr, MD, began his gastroenterology medical practice in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1991. Board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both internal medicine (1981) and gastroenterology (1989), Deas served 20 years in the US Air Force, retiring as colonel, before starting his practice.


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Working With Congress as an ASC

Nearly all legislation eventually approved by Congress is first considered in one or more of the many standing committees that exist in the House and Senate today. Several committees typically have jurisdiction over proposals that affect health care, Medicare and other issues essential to ASCs.


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State Legislation Trends for 2017

Before we embark on the 2017 legislative session, let us recap the 2016 session. In 2016, more than 178,206 bills were filed across the country, and state lawmakers approved nearly 29,122 of them, making them 17 percent more productive than Congress. With that volume, the ASC industry saw several legislative issues arise. Many of those emerging issues are expected to be re-introduced in 2017.


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Commerce and Congress

John McManus is president and founder of The McManus Group LLC, a consulting firm specializing in strategic policy and political counsel and advocacy for health care clients with issues before Congress and the administration. Prior to founding the McManus Group, McManus served as the staff director for the House Ways and Means Subcommittee and led the policy development, negotiations and drafting of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. He has worked with the ASC community for more than 10 years to protect and promote ASC interests in Washington, DC.


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The Debate on Certificate of Need

Thirty-six states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have some variation of a Certificate of Need (CON) program in place. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) states that these programs are aimed at restraining health care facility costs and allowing coordinated planning of new services and construction. With this goal in mind, every variation of a CON program stems from a state’s desire to reduce health and medical costs. Even the 14 states that do not have CON regulations in place make efforts to control costs and prevent duplicate services.


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One-on-One with ASC Champion Linda Sanchez

Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA) has served in the US House of Representatives since 2003 and is an ardent advocate for ASCs. She serves on the Committee on Ways and Means where she has substantial influence over Medicare policy. Sanchez has been instrumental in guiding H.R. 887, the Electronic Health Fairness Act, through the legislative process in Congress. This legislation would exempt patient encounters performed in an ASC from being counted toward meaningful use requirements tied to electronic health records until certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) is established for the ASC setting. The legislation also would encourage the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to certify an EHR system for ASCs.


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The Doctors Caucus

Caucuses in Congress are a way for their members to act as a voting block and increase their influence over a particular area. These groups allow members to raise awareness on the issue they care about while potentially changing legislation to suit their constituents’ needs. There are more than 450 organized caucuses in the House. They include groups such as the Carbonated and Non-alcoholic (C.A.N.) Caucus and the Commercial Space Caucus. Although the list is diverse, only a few caucuses wield true power and one of the most influential of these is the House GOP Doctors Caucus.


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Participate in National ASC Week

For the past decade, ASCA has helped ASCs across the country to open their doors on National ASC Day and educate the public and key policymakers on the high-quality, cost-efficient care that ASCs provide to millions of Americans each year. This year, ASCA will celebrate National ASC Week, August 8–12, to help ASCs increase awareness and host facility tours.


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Thank You

ASCAPAC, ASCA’s political action committee (PAC) and the only federal PAC that represents the entire ASC community, is grateful for the tremendous support from all of its contributors and would like to recognize those individuals and facilities that have contributed every year for the past five years.


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Fly In to Help Your ASC

Each year, ASCA invites its members to meet face-to-face with their legislators in Washington, DC. For many ASCA members, the Capitol Fly-In program provides the first step to building a relationship with their representatives in Congress. Many members continue to participate in ASCA’s fly-ins and meet with their legislators about issues affecting their ASC each year.


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Data, Changes to Regulations Needed to Expand ASC-Payable List

Advances in medical technology have expanded the types of patients who can be treated outside the hospital. Despite these advances, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) payment policies often lag behind innovation, with many procedures—such as total joints—still on the inpatient-only list.


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ASCA Advocacy in 2016

As the 2016 presidential election takes center stage, ASCA turns its attention toward ASC supporters in Congress who are facing reelection this year.


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On Tap This Year

ASCA and its members broadened support for ASCs on Capitol Hill and achieved a number of other successes for ASCs in Washington, DC, in 2015.


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