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Vermont advances surgery center oversight bill without controversial provider tax, budget regulation

The Vermont House Health Care Committee advanced a bill that could establish a state licensing structure for ASCs; however, it removed two controversial aspects, VTDigger reports.

What you should know:

1. As it stands, the bill would require the committee to collect and review an array of ASC-related information. It would also require ASCs to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.

2. The committee considered implementing a provider tax, as well as a proposal that would have granted the state's approval body budgetary review powers. Independent surgery center advocates opposed both measures.

3. The committee wanted to find a middle ground to regulate the centers but not to the point where it would obstruct the public-facing benefits, said Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield, committee vice chair.

4. Legislators said they didn't have enough time to adequately vet a provider tax, and they felt the budgetary review powers would sap independent surgery center resources.

5. Green Mountain Surgery Center Manager Amy Cooper said she has concerns over the vagueness of the proposal. She said she's "concerned that the language around the [care board] collecting and reviewing information from [surgery centers] is too vague, and it's hard to understand what that means exactly." Green Mountain Surgery Center will be the state's second ASC once it opens.

6. The bill is now in the House Ways and Means Committee.

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