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ADVOCACY SPOTLIGHT Talking Shop With Anita Bhatia, Health Insurance Specialist

at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services For quality reporting to be successful, it is essential that ASCs and CMS have a good line of communication, the CMS expert says.

How long have you been at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)? BHATIA: Since January

2000; 13 years.

What did you do before coming to CMS? BHATIA: I was an epidemiologist with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with previous ex- perience as a statistician and research scientist.

What does your job entail? BHATIA: I am responsible for the suc- cessful implementation of the ASC Quality Reporting Program as well as ongoing support of the Hospital Out- patient Quality Reporting Program at CMS. Previously, I served as the project lead for the Hospital Payment Monitoring Program (HPMP).

How did you come to work on the implementation of the ASC quality reporting program? BHATIA: I requested to be able to work on the implementation of this program. This is exciting work!

What has been the biggest challenge in implementing the new reporting program? BHATIA: Getting ASCs to know about the program and getting them involved with the support that CMS offers.

How have ASCs been doing thus far? BHATIA: The vast majority of ASCs appear to have successfully met re- porting requirements for the CY 2014 payment determination. Those with reporting issues have, for the most

ASCA’s quality reporting toolkit is available free online at Toolkit.

part, contacted the support contrac- tor, and those that have not, have been contacted.

What changes are on the horizon? BHATIA: CMS is currently consider- ing policy proposals for the upcoming CY 2014 OPPS (Outpatient Prospec- tive Payment System)/ASC proposed rule with comment period, so discus- sion of any proposed changes must be deferred until this payment rule is released in the Federal Register. This proposed rule is scheduled for display sometime this summer.

What can ASCs do to prepare? BHATIA: Any program changes will be made through proposals in rule making. ASCs can become informed about any proposals by attending our upcoming educational session on the proposed rule, which will be of- fered shortly after the proposed rule is placed on display (scheduled for

on or around July 1, 2013), reading the proposed rule, and/or working with their state and national organiza- tions, such as ASCA. It is useful for ASCs to sign up for the ASC Qual- ity Reporting listserv on the www. web site. This listserv provides up-to-date information on the ASC Quality Reporting Program, including educational offerings and program announcements.

Talk a bit about the importance of having a good line of communication between ASCs and CMS. BHATIA: It is essential that ASCs and CMS have a good line of communica- tion for ASC quality reporting to be successful. CMS needs input from the people who do the work in order to implement the best possible ASC Qual- ity Reporting Program; the people in the field are the experts. So, please comment on proposals made through rulemaking. Comments are a very important source of information that guides the finaliza- tion of proposals. Additionally, commu- nication is essential for working through implementation issues, whether they be billing issues, finding where the require- ments are or what they are or submitting questions through the on-line Q and A tool. We cannot help if we do not know help is needed. There have been challenges in com- municating with ASCs in that ASCs tend to specialize and the specialties can be quite different in the types of services provided. This specialization of services makes it more challenging to implement a quality reporting pro- gram for this clinical setting.

ASCA’s Jonathan Beal interviewed Anita Bhatia. ASC FOCUS JUNE 2013 31

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