6% ASC tax begins in Connecticut; New coalition fights for repeal

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A newly-formed coalition in Connecticut is fighting against a recently-implemented 6 percent tax on ambulatory surgery centers statewide.

The state's new budget includes a 6 percent provider tax on the 47 ASCs in the state, which could lead 35 percent of those ASCs to operate at a loss. The Connecticut Citizens for Affordable Care are mobilizing to repeal the tax.

"Ambulatory surgery centers are a critical part of quality and affordable healthcare across the state, and this tax seriously jeopardizes our ability to stay operational and serve our patients," said Connecticut Surgery Center Administrator Cathy Bartell. "Patients value our ability to offer them safe and convenient care, which also happens to be more affordable than hospital-based care. Facility closures and reduced access to ASCs will be felt acutely, punctuating the critical need to repeal this tax and protect patient-preferred community-based care."

The ASCs in the state:

• Are reimbursed at 53 percent of the hospital outpatient departments
• Often outperform hospitals in infection control and patient satisfaction
• Can produce cost savings for patients, insurers and tax payers

If the tax isn't repealed, some ASCs may be forced to close and patients will be moved to HOPDs with higher costs. ASCs in the state already pay property, sales and use tax, and the new tax could have a significant affect on the centers going forward.

"The convenience patients have come to expect will be a thing of the past, as will the important cost savings that taxpayers and insurers want," said Glenn Elia, CEO of Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists. "Our elected officials whose constituents certainly also benefit from the care we provide, should not delay in repealing this tax immediately."

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