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FEATURE


United We Stand Help ASCAPAC make sure that your ASC’s interests are represented in Congress. BY HEATHER FALEN ASHBY


W


hen you consider the ever-evolv- ing developments in science and


technology that help ASCs improve the range and quality of services they of- fer each day, the future of ambulatory surgery is bright. But what about the financial and operational future of your ASC? Between growing regulatory bur- dens, inadequate payment updates, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and still-to-be-determined Medi- care reforms, the reality is that policy decisions being made every day in Washington, DC, are critically impor- tant to the future of your ASC and the entire ASC community.


What happens in Washington, DC, directly affects your future—


whether the industry remains viable, your surgery center will stay open, your job will be safe, and your center can grow and take care of patients.” — Christopher R. Kelly, general counsel of AmSurg


Although these challenges are in-


surmountable for any of us individual- ly, if the tens of thousands of members of the ASC community join together, they could make sure that the ASC story is being told on Capitol Hill and that ASCs are represented in Congress. The collective strength of an organiza- tion with broad support is impossible to ignore. That is why ASCA provides its members with so many ways to get involved in advocacy, including legis- lative fly-ins to Washington DC, tools that make contacting their members of Congress easy and legislative updates that help ASC professionals identify and take action on the most important issues of the day. ASCA also formed ASCAPAC—the only political action committee that represents the entire


28 ASC FOCUS MAY 2013


ASC community nationwide—another important way for ASC professionals to get involved and a critical tool in the association’s advocacy strategy.


What is ASCAPAC? ASCAPAC is a nonpartisan political action committee whose membership consists of individuals and physician owners of ASC facilities. The collec- tive resources of ASCAPAC are used to ensure that the ASC community’s friends in Congress remain in Con- gress and to build new relationships with legislators who are decision mak- ers on policies that affect ASCs.


In Washington, the saying goes that if you are not at the table,


you are on the menu.” — Michael Guarino, vice president of the Board of ASCA and former chairman of ASCAPAC


How does ASCAPAC work? ASCAPAC receives voluntary contri- butions from ASCA member facilities and individual physicians, administra- tors and staff. ASCAPAC pools these resources and makes strategic contri- butions to members of and candidates for the US House and Senate.


ASCAPAC takes your contribution, creates a synergism and uses it to


provide a strong voice to lawmakers.” — Andrew Weiss, CASC, ASCAPAC Committee member


Chris Kelly, a member of ASCAPAC,


explains the political action committee this way: “The advocacy efforts and events


that ASCAPAC participates


in give us the best personal access to members of Congress, and the ability to develop effective working relation-


ships with these decision makers in Washington, DC. By hosting and at- tending events, we get to engage with a member of Congress away from the noise and bustle of the office and tell them about all the great things we are doing.”


Is ASCAPAC effective? In 2012, 92 percent of ASCAPAC- supported candidates were re-elected. Since 2010, ASCs have received $510 million more dollars in reimburse- ments, thanks to advocacy efforts that increased payment update rates. In ad- dition, burdensome regulations, such as the same-day surgery requirements, have been eliminated.


Why does ASCAPAC fund candidates with whom I disagree? ASCAPAC doesn’t play politics; it supports candidates who support ASC issues, regardless of party or politi- cal ideology. Legislation cannot pass without support from members of both political parties. ASCAPAC contrib- utes to both Democrats and Republi- cans because ASCs need allies on both sides of the aisle.


If you want to have a voice, then you need to be involved, and


there is no better organization in our in- dustry with which to get involved. ASCA is uniquely accomplished in represent- ing our industry.” — Susan Stroman Cheek, CASC, ASCAPAC Committee member


Imagine what ASCs could achieve


if every ASCA member pitched in. Your voice grows louder as more indi- viduals understand the importance of ASCA’s mission. As Kelly says, “Don’t hope that somebody else is going to take care of the problem; get in the game and make a difference.”


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