Vermont's Senate Health and Welfare Committee unanimously voted against a bill to regulate and tax independent surgery centers, removing one barrier to a planned 2019 opening of the state's second ASC, VT Digger reports. Here are five key insights.
1. The bill would have imposed care board oversight and various expenses, including a 6 percent provider tax based on net patient revenue and a $2,000 annual licensing fee.
2. In July 2017, a group of physicians gained certificate of need approval to open Vermont's second ASC, Green Mountain Surgery in Colchester. South Burlington-based Vermont Eye Surgery and Laser Center is the only ASC currently operating in the state.
3. Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, the Senate committee chairwoman who introduced the bill in February, noted some of the proposed regulations were already stipulated in Green Mountain Surgery Center's CON.
"I think we’ve come to a place where we're all not sure that we're ready to move forward with anything," Ms. Ayer told VT Digger. "It's too fast. There are too many open issues."
4. Vermont's regulatory agency, several legislators and ASC advocates had opposed the bill. The lead investor in Green Mountain Surgery Center said it would have added an estimated $650,000 annually to the center's operating budget, making the project unfeasible.
5. Rep. David Yacovone, D-Addison, is the lead sponsor of a companion bill in the House that likely won't advance this session. He remains a proponent of regulating ASCs and imposing the provider tax to create a "level playing field."