Support Continues to Grow for Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act
New bill cosponsors sit on crucial committees with jurisdiction over ASC matters
BY MAIA KUNKEL | NOVEMBER 2023
From left: Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD (R-IA), Gregory Murphy, MD (R-NC), and Gregory Steube (R-FL).
This fall, three new cosponsors have joined the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act of 2023 (H.R. 972/S. 312). As members of the GOP Doctors Caucus, new bill cosponsors Representatives Greg Murphy, MD (R-NC), and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD (R-IA), are keenly aware of the quality and savings that ASCs provide patients. Most recently, Representative Greg Steube (R-FL) joined the bill as a cosponsor after meeting with attendees during National Advocacy Day back in April.
Before she was elected to Congress in 2021, Miller-Meeks served for more than two decades in the US Army as an ophthalmologist and later as a member of the Iowa State Senate. She became an ASC supporter in 2021 after touring an ASC in her district. Murphy previously served as chief of staff at Vidant Medical Center, renamed ECU Health, in Greenville, North Carolina, and later in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Today, Murphy is the only practicing surgeon in Congress and serves as the co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus. Steube previously served in both the Florida Senate and House of Representatives and the US Army. Earlier this year, he met with his constituents on National Advocacy Day. During the meeting, ASCA members educated the lawmaker and his staff on the importance of the ASC model in their communities and the need to support the legislation. They explained the issues that impact their ASCs’ ability to provide care and the proposed fixes contained in the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act.
All the newest congressional supporters sit on committees with jurisdiction over ASC issues. Murphy and Steube are members of the House Committee on Ways & Means (W&M), and Murphy additionally sits on the W&M Subcommittee on Health. Miller-Meeks is a member of both the House Committee on Energy & Commerce (E&C) and the E&C Subcommittee on Health.
In February, Representatives Brad Wenstrup, DPM (R-OH), and John Larson (D-CT) reintroduced the bipartisan, bicameral act in the House of Representatives, and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), introduced the legislation in the Senate. If enacted, this crucial legislation will slow the widening disparity in Medicare payments between ASCs and hospital outpatient departments by making the hospital market basket the inflationary update factor permanently; add transparency and accessibility for patients trying to research quality metrics; require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to disclose the reasons procedures are denied reimbursement in the ASC setting; and add an ASC voice to the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment.
Importance of Advocacy
Unfortunately, many legislators remain misinformed about ASCs. Every voice has an impact and makes a difference in achieving legislative changes on issues that hinder ASCs’ potential to continue providing high-quality, lower-cost care to patients. You can help secure further support for the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act by using ASCA’s template letters to write to your members of Congress and ask them to join as cosponsors. If you want to meet with your members of Congress and their staff, sign up to host a facility tour.
ASCA members interested in attending National Advocacy Day can complete the interest form. Stay tuned for more details about registration and the 2024 event schedule.
Write Maia Kunkel, ASCA’s Government Affairs manager, at email@example.com with questions.