'They don't really know who we are': Why Texas legislators are being hostile to ASCs

Texas ASC leaders are seeing a growing amount of hostile state legislation. 

Susan Cheek, administrator of the Dallas Endoscopy Center and IV Anesthesia Services, as well as a board member for the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society, joined Becker's to discuss her state's hostile legislation to ASCs. 

Question: Why are legislators hostile toward ASC at this time?

Editor's note: This response was edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

Susan Cheek: As an ASC organization, we are really trying to educate the public and the policymakers that we are a lower-cost, high-quality provider. But even when we go to meet with legislators and their staff, one of the first things they'll say is, 'Oh, don't you all have something to do with ambulances and ambulance drivers?' They don't really know who we are, but they're creating laws about us. 

I don't think that they realize that we're not the ones that are out there gouging the patients. I think that they need to be looking to the insurance companies, who are the keepers of the reimbursement information, to supply cost information to the patients. In broader terms, there's been quite a few laws that we've had to take time working with our lobbyist and state association to try to keep us out of bills or get bills reworded. There's just been more legislation that pertains to us than I've ever seen before.

We're also in an industry that gets increases from the insurance companies in the single digits once every three to five years. So we rarely get increases, but yet our costs go up all the time, and we have to compete with the hospitals that do get double or more than what we get. We also have to compete with them for the same employees. We have to pay our nurses the same amount of what the hospital pays as well as all of our staff, and quite frankly, lots of times we can't buy our supplies as cheap as the hospital can because we don't buy in the quantity that they buy in. So our costs rise, and we're still being reimbursed half or less than hospitals for the same procedures. 

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