On the regulatory front, ASCA’s advocacy was critical in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) deciding to use the hospital market basket to update Medicare reimbursement to ASCs for a five-year interim period from 2019-2023. This is the same factor used to update hospital outpatient departments (HOPD) reimbursement and will help control the reimbursement delta between the two settings. ASCA members have advocated for this change during Hill visits, as this recommendation has long been a key provision in ASCA-driven legislation.
Additionally, Terry Bohlke’s appointment to the HOP Panel could be attributed to the awareness spread through National Advocacy Day, as having representation on the panel also is a key part of the legislation ASCA has been advocating for on the Hill. The HOP Panel makes recommendations to the secretary of Health & Human Services on issues that impact your ASC and are addressed in the CMS’ annual payment rule.
We cannot continue our legislative momentum without the advocacy of the most engaged members of the ASC community and, despite our successes during the last Congress, there still is much to be done to help ASCs achieve their potential. This includes building support for the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act of 2019, which would:
- move the ASC annual inflationary update from the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) to the hospital market basket permanently, which better accounts for rising costs in medical care;
- establish transparency in quality reporting between ASCs and HOPDs, whereby CMS would create a side-by-side comparison of quality measures;
- require an ASC representative on the HOP Panel. Currently, statute requires all HOP Panel members to be employed by a hospital or health system;
- create more transparency within the Medicare procedure approval process by requiring CMS to disclose criteria it uses to determine the ASC procedure list.
“At ASCA’s National Advocacy Day, you will have the opportunity to meet with members of Congress and their staff, which is critical for building valuable relationships and giving a face to the ASC community,” says Steve Selde, ASCA’s assistant director of Government Affairs. “As both chambers of Congress engage in their most intensive period of legislative work, it is crucial that lawmakers hear from constituents supporting ASCA’s legislative priorities.”
Register by March 2 to participate in National Advocacy Day. Interested members for whom expenses might be prohibitive are encouraged to apply for ASCA’s National Advocacy Day Scholarship. The scholarship will cover flight and accommodation costs for eligible attendees. Applications must be received by February 28.
For more information on National Advocacy Day, write Adam Parker, ASCA's manager of Grassroots and Political Affairs.