Government Affairs Update


November 20, 2014

< Recent Issues

ASCA Payment Resources Updated with 2015 Final Rates

ASCA Targets Newly Elected Members of Congress for Facility Tours

Record Number of Cosponsors Continues to Increase for ASC Quality and Access Act

IV Shortages Persist; Please Contact ASCA with Your Stories

ASCAPAC Board of Directors Meets in Washington

Attend CMS’ Free Quality Reporting Webinar

ASCA Regulatory Training Series Now Available

In the Media

ASCA Payment Resources Updated with 2015 Final Rates

Resources to assist ASC operators in determining the impact of Medicare’s 2015 payment changes are now available on ASCA’s web site.


These resources include ASCA’s Medicare Rate Calculator, which shows the national and local payment rates for 2015, a list of the procedures classified as office-based for 2015 and an updated list of device-intensive codes with payment rates.


Visit ASCA’s Medicare Payments Resources webpage to access all of the payment documents, only accessible to ASCA members.


For more information, contact Kara Newbury at knewbury@ascassociation.org.


ASCA Targets Newly Elected Members of Congress for Facility Tours

ASCA has begun reaching out to the more than 60 incoming members of Congress about the benefits of touring an ASC. The congressional turnover has created opportunities to build new relationships with members of Congress who may not be familiar with the high quality, cost effective care that ASCs provide patients in their state and districts.


ASCA members in the states and districts of these newly elected legislators received a grassroots call-to-action last week encouraging them to set up a tour of their facility with their new members of Congress. More than 20 centers have responded and are working with ASCA to set up tours now.


If you are interested in hosting your member of Congress, or have questions about building relationships with newly elected legislators, please contact Jack Coleman at jcoleman@ascassociation.org.


More information is also available on ASCA’s Facility Tour webpage.


Record Number of Cosponsors Continues to Increase for ASC Quality and Access Act

This week, US Representatives Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) joined a record number of cosponsors for the ASC Quality and Access Act of 2013 (H.R. 2500 / S. 1137). The legislation has 80 cosponsors in the US House of Representatives and eight in the US Senate.


While the legislation will not likely become law this Congress, certain provisions of the bill will be included in larger legislative packages as a direct result of the increased congressional support. A newly-drafted package circulated by the House Ways and Means Committee, called the Hospital Improvements for Payment (HIP) Act of 2014, includes language that would require an ASC voice to be added to the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment. This panel, which seats up to 19 people, advises the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the clinical integrity of the Ambulatory Payment Classification groups and their relative payment weights.


ASCA will continue to monitor legislative action and keep members apprised of any new developments. For more information, contact Kristin Murphy at kmurphy@ascassociation.org.


IV Shortages Persist; Please Contact ASCA with Your Stories

Thank you to those who participated in ASCA’s recent Drug Shortage Survey. The results of the survey indicate that the availability of many critical medications, normal saline in particular, remains a serious concern across the health care system. If your center has canceled cases or anticipates canceling cases due to the IV shortages, please contact Kristin Murphy at kmurphy@ascassociation.org. The information collected will help ASCA as we work with key congressional committees to determine how to address these critical shortages.


Late last month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that B. Braun Medical Inc. will temporarily distribute normal saline in the United States from its manufacturing facility in Germany in response to the ongoing shortage of 0.9% sodium chloride injection (normal saline). The FDA is temporarily exercising its discretion regarding the distribution of B. Braun’s saline product from Germany, in addition to Baxter’s saline product from Spain and Fresenius Kabi’s saline product from Norway, to help address this critical shortage. FDA inspected B. Braun’s facility in Melsungen, Germany, where its normal saline product is made to ensure the facility currently meets FDA standards. FDA asks that health care professionals contact B. Braun directly to obtain the product.


For more information on drug shortages, visit ASCA’s Drug Shortages Information Center.


ASCAPAC Board of Directors Meets in Washington

The ASCAPAC Board of Directors met in Washington, DC, last week to analyze the 2014 mid-term elections, celebrate ASCAPAC’s 93% success rate and craft strategy for 2015. The Board also talked with Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza about the political outlook for 2015 and the 2016 election cycle.



Jesseye Arrambide, RN, ASCAPAC vice chair;
Chris Cillizza; and Michael Guarino, ASCAPAC chair

     

ASCA would like to applaud the ASCAPAC Board of Directors for their political savvy and commitment to the success of ASCA’s advocacy strategy to protect and promote the future of the ASC industry:


• Michael Guarino, Chair


• Jesseye Arrambide, RN, BSN, CNOR, Vice Chair


• Jeff Blankinship


• Susan Stroman Cheek, CPA, CASC, CHCC


• Joe Ollayos, MHA, CASC


• David G. Ornelas, CASC


• Gary Richberg, RN, BSN, CMPE, CASC


• Annie Sariego, CASC


• Andrew Weiss, CASC


• Lisa Winkler

 

For more information, visit www.ASCAPAC.org or contact Heather Falen Ashby at hashby@ascassociation.org.


Attend CMS’ Free Quality Reporting Webinar

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is hosting a free webinar regarding the 2015 final ASC payment rule and the requirements for the ASC Quality Reporting Program that will affect 2016 and subsequent years’ payment determination criteria.


The webinar will take place Friday, December 5, and two sessions will be offered at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm ET. CMS Government Task Leader Anita Bhatia, PhD, will present. The presentation has been approved for 1 Continuing Education (CE) Unit. Click here to register and for more information.


ASCA Regulatory Training Series Now Available

Earn continuing education (CE) credit with ASCA's new Regulatory Training Series. ASCA has partnered with HealthStream to offer a collection of 21 courses that apply specifically to ASCs and are designed to train ASC staff on the most current regulations and standards of care. 16 of the interactive courses provide CE credit.


Reduced prices are available through January 31, 2015. Click here to request to speak with a representative to purchase the ASCA Regulatory Training Series or schedule a demo.


The courses support annual CE requirements, accommodate various learning styles and feature easy navigation between and within modules. Click here to learn more.


In the Media

Ebola Response in Liberia Is Hampered by Infighting

The New York Times


U.S. States Get More, Spend More on Medicaid Under Obamacare

Reuters


Does it Really Cost $2.6 Billion to Develop a New Drug?

The Washington Post



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