WISCA works closely with our national association partner – the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) – on advocacy and other issues important to our members. In fact, the WISCA Government Affairs Team joins a national ASCA state chapter call twice a month for a federal regulatory and legislative briefing and closely follows their published Government Affairs Updates. Here is the latest government affairs news from ASCA:
- HHS Secretary Extends Public Health Emergency
Last week, US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the renewal of the public health emergency (PHE) due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The PHE was originally declared on January 31, 2020, by former HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and has been renewed continuously since then. Renewal of the PHE keeps a number of important waivers and flexibilities active. The current PHE declaration will last 90 days from its effective date of October 13, 2022. In January 2021, then Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran stated in a letter to governors across the country that HHS would provide states with 60 days’ notice prior to the termination of the PHE declaration for COVID-19. ASCA will continue to monitor for any developments and let members know as soon as possible if anything changes regarding the public health emergency.
- Reminder for ASCs Enrolled as Hospitals Without Walls
Staff at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have been monitoring the COVID-19 public health emergency and the ASCs temporarily enrolled as hospitals. As states are ending (or have already ended) their state of emergency/pandemic plans related to COVID-19 and are returning to normal status, ASCA has been asked to remind its members enrolled in the Hospitals Without Walls program what the QSO-20-24-ASC memo says and what they signed as part of their participation attestation. The memo states that “once there is no longer a need for the ASC to be a hospital under their state’s emergency preparedness or pandemic plan, the ASC should come back into compliance with all applicable ASC federal participation requirements, including the Conditions for Coverage.” In addition, the attestation signed when enrolling in the program states that the “ASC named above may enroll as a hospital provided that it is not inconsistent with the state’s emergency preparedness or pandemic plan.” If a state is no longer under an emergency or pandemic plan/state of emergency, CMS staff believes that could mean ASCs in the state are no longer needed as temporary hospitals and no longer consistent with the state’s plan.
- Register Now for Upcoming CMS Webinar on ASC-20
The next Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program webinar, ASC Guide: Traveling Through NHSN and Your ASC-20 Data will take place Wednesday, October 26 at 2 PM ET. The Outpatient Quality Program Systems and Stakeholder Support Team will discuss the ASCQR Program requirements for ASC-20, walk through ASC-20 data entry, and show ways to check your data submission for ASC-20 in the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). This webinar is approved for one Continuing Education (CE) Unit. Registration is required. To register, visit the Event page on the Quality Reporting Center website. As a reminder, the next deadline to submit data is November 15, 2022.
- ASCA 2023 Fly-In Save the Date
ASCA’s National Advocacy Day returns February 27-March 1, 2023, at the Washington Marriott Capitol Hill. National Advocacy Day gathers engaged members of the ASC community from across the country to advocate for their facilities and the high-quality care they deliver. It is an excellent opportunity to meet face-to-face with your members of Congress and their staff to educate them about the many benefits ASCs provide. More details about registration and the event schedule will be announced soon.