ASCA Refines its Facility Tour Program
Both in-person and virtual formats see changes
BY ADAM PARKER | MAY 2021
ASCA has begun its 2021 facility tour program. This year’s program builds upon the changes that ASCA staff made to the program last year to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. The updated approach includes more refined administrative processes in both the virtual and in-person formats to make the tours even more intuitive and easy for ASCs to conduct.
ASCA members have had great successes in hosting facility tours under the new program. ASCA staff makes initial training calls with facilities interested in hosting a tour, walks them through the best practices and logistics and provides a template for how to conduct the tour. Following that, they tailor slides and related materials for each individual facility, handle the administrative steps to schedule the tour with congressional offices and provide support throughout the process leading up to the tour.
Chris Markford, assistant vice president of HCA West Florida Ambulatory Surgery Division in Tampa, Florida, hosted a virtual tour with his member of Congress last fall. “Educating our local government representatives about the benefits of ASCs helps them recognize the value we offer their constituents and makes sure that ASCs remain a viable option for their physicians and patients,” he says. “The ASCA team does an excellent job of preparing surgery centers to virtually host a congressional representative. They provide data, charts and support from the beginning to the end. I highly recommend reaching out to ASCA to learn how you can help our industry and your facility by hosting a virtual tour.”
As the pandemic recedes, congressional offices across the country are now more willing to get back to in-person facility tours. In-person tours allow ASCA members to interface with and educate their federal representatives in a more traditional format and build a rapport that could be difficult to replicate in a virtual meeting.
During a recent tour with Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) the staff of Mountain Empire Surgery Center in Johnson City, Tennessee, was able to educate their new member of Congress about the ASC industry, secure her support for the soon-to-be introduced Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act, and speak to their experiences during the pandemic and the issues they see moving forward. They also got an inside look at the Congresswoman’s work in the Capitol.
“The initial thought of having a member of Congress tour the facility was a bit overwhelming but it was a positive experience that I would highly recommend,” says Curtis White, chief executive officer of Surgical Center of San Diego in San Diego, California, who hosted a virtual facility tour last year. “It was a great opportunity to educate our legislator and bring light to the ASC environment. ASCA provided several talking points to help navigate the entire process, and it was encouraging to see the interest and engagement from our legislator. We work so hard for our communities and patients, it is important we take a stance and voice the benefits and concerns we are faced with.”
ASCA members interested in hosting a tour with their member of Congress can complete ASCA’s facility tour interest form or reach out to Adam Parker for more information.