One-on-One with ASC Champion Linda Sanchez Congresswoman discusses EHR, working across the aisle and constituents KRISTIN MURPHY
ongresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA) has served in the US
House of Representatives since 2003 and is an ardent advocate for ASCs. She serves on the Committee on Ways and Means where she has substantial influence over Medicare policy. Sanchez has been instrumental in guiding H.R. 887, the Electronic Health Fairness Act, through the legislative process in Congress. This legislation would exempt patient encounters performed in an ASC from being counted toward meaningful use requirements tied to electronic health records until certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) is established for the ASC setting. The legislation also would encourage the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to certify an EHR system for ASCs.
What sparked your interest in ASCs? SANCHEZ: Hearing directly from my constituents about how much they appreciate their ASC is what initially sparked my interest in ASCs. I’ve also had the pleasure of visiting most of the ASCs in my district and have seen the value they provide to our health care system.
One of the many issues you worked on included the delay in meaningful use penalties for physicians who practice in the ASC setting. Why did you get involved in this issue? SANCHEZ: I worked to help pass the Electronic Health Fairness Act after hearing from my constituents about their experiences with their local ASCs and meeting with the doctors serving the community. In meeting after meeting, doctors mentioned that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had
How have you reached across the aisle to foster cooperation between Republicans and Democrats? SANCHEZ: The Electronic Health Fair- ness Act is a bipartisan, common sense fix to an issue that affects Democrats and Republicans alike. I try to search for com- mon ground with my Republican col- leagues and am proud to have worked with Reps. Diane Black and David Scott to get this piece of legislation out of the Ways and Means Committee as part of a larger health care package and to the House floor for a final vote.
How much impact do constituents have on the political process? How would you encourage them to get more involved? SANCHEZ: Constituents have a great impact on the political process. I would encourage every citizen to make their voice heard. Voting is the best way to get involved in the polit- ical process, and your vote speaks volumes at every level.
I worked to help pass the Electronic Health Fairness Act after hearing from my constituents about their experiences with their local ASCs and meeting with the doctors serving the community.”
— Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
What key reforms do you think will be addressed in the remainder of the 114th
Congress? SANCHEZ: The Affordable Care
Act reduced the number of uninsured Americans and helped lower health care costs, but Congress needs to con- tinue to work to make health care affordable for all.
never approved an EHR for the ASC care setting but was set to penalize doctors for not meeting the necessary meaningful use requirements.
didn’t seem very fair to me, so I worked with my colleagues in Congress to get this fixed.
ASCA continues to work with ASC champions like Sanchez in both the US House and Senate. For more infor- mation on ASCA’s advocacy activi- ties, go to www.ascassociation.org/
Kristin Murphy is ASCA’s assistant director of legislative affairs. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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