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Payer Contracts, Advocacy & Patient Safety Initiatives: What's Next for the Oregon Ambulatory Surgery Center Association?

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Chris SkagenChris Skagen, JD, recently took on the role of executive director of the Oregon Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. Mr. Skagen answers questions about his goals for the organization and opportunities for ASC success.

Question: What do you hope to achieve in your new position as executive director of OASCA?
Chris Skagen: I hope to continue the community approach of working with members in our trade association. ASCs vary by geographic region as well as their scope of practice. I have been truly impressed by the depth of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm I have seen by my member physicians, administrators and staff. This organization will only succeed by being actively engaged and on the ground, listening to our members who can help direct our priorities.
Q: What are a few of OASCA's top priorities in 2014?
CS: First, we are working to ensure fair treatment of all ASCs, in-network and out-of-network, by state regulators and payers. Second, we are examining the potential of creating an extended care license in this state to enable ASCs to conduct higher acuity cases in the ASC setting. Third, we are looking to support ASCA's efforts in having Dr. Richard Edelson appointed to the MedPAC Advisory Committee.  We agree with ASCA that having an ASC representative on this board could impact the way CMS views and treats ASCs nationally.
Q: Why do you think participation in organizations such as OASCA is important for ASC leaders?
CS: We are continually under attack and there is strength in numbers. By working together, we can develop a comprehensive and powerful message of the value proposition ASCs bring to the healthcare landscape. Every single person working in the ASC industry has skin in this game. If we don't keep our eye on the target, our industry could potentially be regulated out of existence. Our organization provides top tier continuing education and advocacy to ensure that the ASC industry is on the map and is appreciated.  
Q:  What do you think are a few of the best opportunities for ASC success in 2014?

CS: In my opinion, the best way an ASC can promote success is by giving back to its community. Many of our members have a free care day, which provides great exposure and helps promote that ASCs are a positive piece to the puzzle.

I also see great opportunity in being proactive in regards to the pending CMS changes that will require Medicare and Medicaid participating facilities to include a greater emergency preparedness component in their business planning. ASCs can be leaders for other small businesses in their community in being a model for how to best design, improve and implement an emergency operations plan for their facility.  

Finally, I encourage all of our members to participate in patient safety initiatives. OASCA and its members have been involved with the Oregon Patient Safety Commission for many years and appreciate the collaborative relationship we have with them. The data consistently proves that ASCs are a high-value, low-cost solution for the right patient.

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