March 3, 2015
The US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee voted last week to approve the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 (H.R. 887), an historic achievement for the ASC industry during this time of legislative inaction in Washington, DC. H.R. 887 exempts patient encounters performed in an ASC from being counted toward meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR) until such time as a certified EHR technology exists for the ASC. Additionally, since there are no certification standards ASCs, this legislation would also authorize the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to finally certify an EHR system for ASCs. The legislation will now go to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
“We all know that electronic health records have the potential to improve the quality and safety of care that our physicians provide”, said US Representative Diane Black (R-TN), lead sponsor of the bill. She went on to say “this bipartisan bill would protect the providers who provide the majority of care in these settings from penalties, while removing a major disincentive to provide care in and ASC when appropriate.”
This bill’s introduction and Ways and Means committee passage is a direct result of ASCA member and staff advocacy efforts to create a solution for physicians who perform the majority of their procedures in the ASC setting. The following ASCA members answered the call to action within 24-hours and asked their representatives on the Committee to support this legislation:
- David Fitzgerald, Proliance Surgeons Inc.
- Stephanie Harvey, Independent Surgery Center, LLC
- Nancy Henry, Tallgrass Surgical Center
- Milla Jones, USPI
- Telethea Mortimer, Bloomington Endoscopy Center
- Joe Ollayos, Tri-Cities Surgery Center, LLC
- Dan Peterson, Surgery Center of Santa Rosa
- Jim Sergeant, East Portland Surgery Center
- Maggie Summerfelt, Advanced Surgery Center
- Andrew Weiss, The Endo Center at Voorhees
Thanks also go out to the Chris Skagen and Simon Schwartz of the Oregon Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, and Marie Edler of SCA for facilitating these connections.
ASCA will continue to advocate for this legislation and we ask that members build on this momentum by attending the ASCA Capitol Fly-Ins and inviting members of Congress to tour your facility.
For more information on EHR, contact Heather Falen Ashby at firstname.lastname@example.org.