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Self-Championing Your ASC Stand up for your center and the work that you do for your community BY DANIELLE KASTER


F with high-quality,


or more than 40 years, ASCs have provided millions of Americans cost-efficient


sur-


gical care, yet many legislators are unaware of their work and how they have transformed the outpatient expe- rience.


While ASCA continues to


advocate for ASCs and serve as the voice of the ASC community, there is no substitute for individual ASC lead- ers and staff who lobby their legisla- tors as constituents. ASCA hosts several events each


year that give its members a chance to build relationships with their legis- lators. For instance, the ASCA Capi- tol Fly-In provides an opportunity for members to meet their representatives in Congress face-to-face. “We have a responsibility to com- municate to our government lead- ers, and the Fly-In events give us a unique opportunity to do just that,” says Brian Rye, chief executive offi- cer of Melbourne Surgery Center in Melbourne, Florida. ASCA provides its Fly-In attend- ees with informational materials about relevant legislation and a sum- mary of talking points the day before they meet their legislators on Capi- tol Hill. On the day of the visits, the members meet their legislators and their staff and share the story of their facilities using those talking points. Often, these stories leave a lasting impression on lawmakers. “I have participated in Capitol Fly- Ins for the past five years, and wit- nessed a change in the tenor of many of our elected officials as they have become more informed about and familiar with the ASC industry,” says Andrew Weiss, president of the New Jersey Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.


26 ASC FOCUS FEBRUARY 2016


Hosting a facility tour offers another chance to meet your legislator face-to- face while offering him or her a first- hand look at how an ASC functions. “Facility tours are the icing on the


cake,” Weiss says. “Many times you see by the lawmaker’s body language that the dime drops and they understand that we maintain a higher level of clinical environment than they expected.” Judy Harless, CASC, secretary of


the ASCA Board and administrator at SMI Surgery Center in San Diego, California, hosted a facility tour for Representative Scott Peters (CA-52) last September. “There really is no more impact-


Building a relationship with your member of Congress is the most effective way to make sure your ASC is represented when policy decisions are being made.”


—Danielle Kaster, ASCA


While the Fly-Ins help initiate a relationship between ASCA mem- bers and their legislators, following up is key to cultivating that connection. ASCA offers template thank you let- ters and sample grassroots emails that ASCs can use to set up facility tours with the members of Congress follow- ing their Capitol Hill visits. “The Fly-In is one step in an ongo- ing process,” says Cathy Weaver, regional vice president of operations at United Surgical Partners Interna- tional’s office based in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The process requires a mindset of continuing to reach out to the legislators and their staff. . . . Build a relationship.


ful way to educate our legislators on ASCs than to have them in our centers, inspired to ask questions and engaging in meaningful conversation about the services, quality and health care sav- ings we represent,” she says. ASCA also encourages ASCs to


participate in National ASC Week. In the third week of August, ASCs across the country engage in different activi- ties to promote awareness of the con- venient, personalized and lower cost care that they offer to their communi- ties. Centers invite community mem- bers and elected officials to events such as an open house, health screen- ings or educational seminars. Creating a buzz in the community makes for a strong ASC voice that Congress can- not ignore.


Building a relationship with your


member of Congress is the most effec- tive way to make sure your ASC is rep- resented when policy decisions are being made.


Danielle Kaster is ASCA’s grassroots and political affairs manager. Write her at dkaster@ascassociation.org.


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