Capitol Hill Report Legislative priorities for ASCs BY KRISTIN MURPHY

T he 114th Congress, which will meet during the final two years of Presi-

dent Barack Obama’s term, is well under way. In the first six months of 2015, this Congress has already been involved in a number of landmark events.

SGR Repeal Congress worked with President Obama to permanently repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and replace it with a more stable, value-based pay- ment system for Medicare physicians. This legislation came after 12 years of short-term patches and was marked by a vote of 392–37 in the House and 92–8 in the Senate. Other key pieces of legislation introduced this year include:

Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act US Representatives Devin

the Ambulatory ■

(R-CA) and John Larson (D-CT) introduced

fix a flaw in current

Nunes Surgi-

cal Center Quality and Access Act of 2015 (H.R. 1453) during March. The act would: ■

■ law that

allows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to use different measures of inflation for ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPD) when setting rates, unfairly penalizing the lower cost provider. This improvement would help prevent the migration of the procedures ASCs perform to the more expensive HOPD setting and encourage additional cost savings to Medicare and its beneficiaries;

require transparency in quality reporting and require CMS to pub- lish relevant quality data in a way that is accessible to patients;

Track the Latest Regulatory and Legislative News for ASCs

Visit ASCA’s web site 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. GovtAffairsUpdate

direct CMS to add a representative of the ASC community to its Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment because decisions made by the panel affect both HOPD and ASC facility fees and eligible procedures; and

require CMS to disclose which of its six criteria triggers the exclusion of a

procedure from the ASC approved list. This legislation currently has 37 sup- porters in the House and is expected to be introduced in the Senate.

Electronic Health Fairness Act ASCA continues to advocate for relief from unfair meaningful use penalties for physicians who care for Medicare patients in the ASC setting, and has worked with several key congressional champions to introduce and pass legis- lation to solve this problem. The Electronic Health Fairness

Act was introduced by US Repre- sentatives Diane Black (R-TN) and David Scott (D-GA) in the House and Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) in the Sen- ate. This legislation protects ASC- practicing physicians in the Medi- care program by exempting patient encounters performed in an ASC from being counted toward meaning- ful use of electronic health records

The information in this report was current at the time this issue of ASC Focus magazine went to press. For updates, please write the author. 22 ASC FOCUS AUGUST 2015

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