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ADVOCACY SPOTLIGHT


Passing Bills Participate in National Advocacy Day to help push forward the ASC Quality and Access Act BY STEVE SELDE


For this session of Con- gress, ASCA’s main leg- islative priority is the ASC Quality and Access Act. This bill would help


ensure that your ASC can continue to provide high-value care for Medicare beneficiaries in your community. The bill takes a four-pronged approach to accomplish that goal. First, the legislation would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to permanently use the same factor when updating pay- ments to ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPD). CMS made the important change last year to update ASC payments on an interim basis by the same factor it uses for HOPDs, the hospital market basket. Second,


the


legislation would require that an ASC representative is appointed to the advi- sory panel on hospital outpatient pay- ment, giving ASCs a voice on issues that impact facility fees and procedures. Third, CMS would be required to post a comparison of like ASC and HOPD quality measures so that Medicare ben- eficiaries can make informed decisions about their care. Finally, the legislation would require CMS to disclose the cri- teria used when excluding procedures from the ASC setting.


The pace at which bills like the


ASC Quality and Access Act progress through Congress relies on many fac- tors. One of the most significant is the progress Congress makes on funding the government each year and related budgetary issues. The Constitution grants Congress the power of the purse but does not dictate how Con- gress must fulfill this constitutional duty. Over the years, Congress has developed certain types of budgetary


22 ASC FOCUS AUGUST 2019| ascfocus.org


TRACK THE LATEST REGULATORY AND LEGISLATIVE NEWS FOR ASCs


Visit ASCA’s website every week to stay up to date on the latest government affairs news affecting the ASC industry. Every week, ASCA’s Government Affairs Update newsletter is posted online for ASCA members to read. The weekly newsletter tracks and analyzes the latest legislative and regulatory developments concerning ASCs.


ascassociation.org/ GovtAffairsUpdate


legislation, along with rules and prac- tices that govern its content and con- sideration. The budget process is not strictly followed and Congress does


not consider budgetary measures in a linear pattern each year. Such dissimilarity can result from


countless factors, such as a lack of con- sensus, competing budget priorities, the economy, natural disasters, military engagements or other circumstances. This year, many of the above hurdles have stymied the budget process and, in turn, Congress’s consideration of other legislative measures. The year started with the longest partial government shutdown in our nation’s history, and it took months for Congress to ultimately pass legislation to provide funding for disaster relief. As of early June of this year, neither chamber of Congress had passed an appropriations bill that funds federal agencies and programs. In addition to having to provide funding for federal agencies and pro- grams for the next fiscal year, two


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