How the 21st Century Cures Act impacts ASC physicians — 2 ASCA leaders shed insight

Alpharetta, Ga.-based AmkaiSolutions, an EMR software and management solutions provider, talked latest healthcare trends impacting the ASC sphere with Ambulatory Surgery Center Association's Kara Newbury, JD,  regulatory counsel, and Heather Ashby, director of government affairs.

Here are some key thoughts from the conversation:

1. In the ASC space, physicians have experienced difficulty managing the many requirements associated with CMS' meaningful use. The 21st Century Cures Acts worked to alleviate many of these concerns with a provision on price transparency. Ms. Ashy remarked ASCA applauded the act's passage as the organization's "champions on the House side took it upon themselves to expand the intent of the legislation to apply it through the implementation of the new the Medicare physician payment system."

2. Ms. Ashby said the House and Senate passing the 21st Century Cures Acts speaks to the relationships ASCA has built with Congress and staff members. She said, "They understand that ASCs play a vital role in the healthcare system, and they were looking to make sure ASC physicians were not unduly penalized."

3. Ms. Newbury said CMS' 2017 ASC payment rule contained "no earth-shattering policy changes." The law added 10 new procedures to the ASC-payable list and had nominal payment increases. CMS added seven new measures to the CMS payment determination in 2020. To learn about these measures, click here.

4. ASCA had a record number of cosponsors in 2016 and House and Senate support for the ASC Quality and Access Act. Ms. Ashby noted that organization experienced a 16 percent increase in the number of Congress cosponsors for the bill.

5. Moving forward this year, Ms. Ashby said HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, will be an advocate for ASCs as he had ownership interests in ASCs in Georgia prior to entering Congress. She said, "He has been one of our strongest and loudest supporters on the Hill. We are eager to see how he builds out his team at HHS. We look forward to seeing how he translates the many policies he has proposed and been an advocate for as a member of Congress into regulatory action."

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