Government Affairs Update

October 21, 2021 - Volume XI, Issue 42

HHS Secretary Extends Public Health Emergency

On October 15, US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the determination of a public health emergency (PHE) due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The PHE was originally declared on January 31, 2020, by former HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and has been renewed continuously since then.

Renewal of the PHE keeps a number of important waivers and flexibilities active, including the Hospitals Without Walls initiative that allows ASCs to enroll as hospitals temporarily. The current PHE declaration will last 90 days.

Contact Alex Taira with any questions.

Facility Tours Continue in October

On October 18, two ASCA members held facility tours for their members of Congress. ASCA Board President Michael Patterson, president and chief executive officer of Mississippi Valley Health in Davenport, Iowa, hosted a facility tour for his center’s new member of Congress, Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD (R-IA).

Later the same day, Specialists’ One-Day Surgery Center in Syracuse, New York, hosted a tour for Representative John Katko (R-NY). During the tour, the facility’s staff had the opportunity to directly discuss with Representative Katko the state of healthcare in the community and their position in getting patients access to care.


From left to right: Kim Murray, chief clinical coordinator; Congressman John Katko (R-NY); and Geoffrey Smith, executive director, during the congressman’s tour of Specialists’ One-Day Surgery Center.

ASCA members interested in hosting a tour for their members of Congress can complete the Facility Tour Interest Form or visit ASCA’s facility tour webpage for more information.

Contact Maia Kunkel with any questions.

ASCQR Program Facility-Specific Reports Available for ASC-12, ASC-17 and ASC-18

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced earlier this week that facilities now have access to facility-specific reports (FSR) with information on the following three measures for calendar year (CY) 2022 payment determination:

  • ASC-12: Facility 7-Day Risk-Standardized Hospital Visit Rate after Outpatient Colonoscopy (Colonoscopy measure)
  • ASC-17: Hospital Visits after Orthopedic Ambulatory Surgical Center Procedures (Orthopedic measure)
  • ASC-18: Hospital Visits after Urology Ambulatory Surgical Center Procedures (Urology measure)

The FSR is a Microsoft Excel file that contains measure performance results, state and national results, detailed patient-level data used to calculate measure results and a summary of each facility’s case mix. The FSR allows facilities to review their results prior to CMS publicly reporting the measures in early 2022. Registered users who have Managed File Transfer (MFT) basic user access and have been granted the “Auto-Route (ASCQR)” permission by their organization’s Security Administrator/Official (SA/O) will receive an Auto Route File Delivery Notification email indicating that the FSR is available. FSRs will be accessible by logging in to the MFT dashboard and entering your HCQIS Access Roles and Profile (HARP) username and password. From there, select “Mail” in the left-hand navigation pane and locate your FSR in the inbox folder. FSRs are available for a 30-day period.

Your facility will not receive an FSR if it was not open during the FSR reporting period; did not have any eligible cases for the measures during the FSR reporting period; and/or did not have a HARP and MFT account with the appropriate designated roles.

If facilities have problems accessing their FSRs, they should contact the QualityNet Help Desk. Facilities may submit questions and comments online via the Quality Question and Answer Tool.

Delaware Considers Changes to H&P Requirements

A recently released proposed rule in Delaware would amend the state’s requirements related to medical history and physical assessments to match the changes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made to this requirement in 2019. The proposed rule removes the current requirement that an ASC obtain a comprehensive medical history and physical assessment 30 days before a surgery and replaces it with a requirement that ASCs develop and maintain a policy that identifies those patients who require a medical history and physical examination prior to surgery.

The proposed rule also contains a new requirement that all new ASC staff, vendors and volunteers be tested for COVID-19 before their start date and in a manner consistent with Delaware Division of Public Health Guidance. Public comments on the proposed rule are due by 4:30 pm ET on November 1.

Contact Stephen Abresch with any questions.