Sign-up to host a legislative tour of your ASC
With the 2023-24 legislative session right around the corner, it is increasingly important for WISCA members to strengthen their relationships with key state lawmakers and candidates for state legislative office and educate them on the ASC model of care, the regulatory challenges we face, and the legislative solutions we need to increase access to affordable, quality care provided in the ASC setting.
One of the best ways to do that is for members to invite their local legislators to tour their ASCs to illustrate firsthand the many benefits of surgery center care. These visits provide a tremendous advocacy opportunity, which is why WISCA members across the state have already hosted numerous successful legislative tours. But we need to maintain the enthusiasm for this critical grassroots advocacy program, and WISCA is excited and ready to set-up additional tours today.
Want to Be More Involved in WISCA Advocacy? Join the WISCA Legislative Committee
We are pleased to announce that Jackie McLaughlin – administrator of the Northwoods Surgery Center in Woodruff, WI – has joined the WISCA Legislative Committee. WISCA is thrilled to have her onboard and excited about the knowledge and experience she will bring to the committee as they tackle the ASC community’s biggest legislative and regulatory challenges in Wisconsin.
Despite the exciting addition of Jackie, the Legislative Committee still has a few vacancies, and WISCA is actively recruiting members to serve on this important committee.
The WISCA Legislative committee is responsible for setting and communicating legislative priorities and policy positions that are representative of WISCA’s membership. The committee also works closely with WISCA’s professional lobbying/advocacy team to ensure that state and federal issues important to members are effectively communicated to policymakers.
If you are interested in serving on the WISCA Legislative Committee, please contact he WISCA office at WISCA@badgerbay.co.
Earlier this month, Becker’s – one of the fastest growing media platforms in the health care industry – named WISCA member Jackie McLaughlin, BSN, RN, as their administrator of the week, for the week of October 14, 2022. For the past five years, Jackie has served as administrator of the Northwoods Surgery Center in Woodruff, WI, a multispecialty surgery center in rural northern Wisconsin.
The latest Marquette University Law School Poll, which was conducted October 3-9 and released on October 12 shows incumbent Tony Evers (D) and Tim Michels (R) in an extremely close race for governor. It also shows incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R) leading Democratic challenger and current Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes in the contest for U.S. Senate. Please find below highlights of the poll:
Wisconsin Governor’s Race:
· Wisconsin Voters’ Preference for Governor (among likely voters):
o Governor Tony Evers (Democrat) – 47%
o Tim Michels (Republicans) – 46%
o Joan Beglinger (Independent) – 4% (Beglinger has dropped out of the race but will remain on the ballot)
o Other – 3%
In the September poll, Evers received 47%, Michels 44%, and Beglinger 5%.
· Evers Favorability:
o Favorable: 44%
o Unfavorable: 46%
o Haven’t heard enough: 6%
o Don’t know: 4%
· Michels Favorability:
o Favorable: 36%
o Unfavorable: 36%
o Haven’t heard enough: 20%
o Don’t know: 8%
Wisconsin U.S. Senate Race:
· Wisconsin Voters’ Preference for U.S. Senate (among likely voters):
o Senator Ron Johnson (Republican): 52%
o Governor Mandela Barnes (Democrat): 46%
In the September poll, Johnson received 49% and Barnes 48%
· Barnes Favorability:
o Favorable: 39%
o Unfavorable: 40%
o Haven’t heard enough: 15%
o Don’t know: 6%
· Johnson Favorability:
o Favorable: 41%
o Unfavorable: 45%
o Haven’t heard enough: 9%
o Don’t know: 5%
CLICK HERE to read the complete results from the latest Marquette University Poll.
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:
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.
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.
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’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.
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 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.
Just a few days after Marquette Law School Poll pollster Charles Franklin presented at the WISCA annual forum in Stevens Point, he released the latest version of the Marquette University Law School Poll. It shows a tight statewide race between Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and his Republican challenger, construction executive Tim Michels. Among likely voters, 47 percent said they support Gov. Evers, while 44 percent support Michels. The margin of error for likely voters was 4.9 percent.
The previous Marquette poll, conducted immediately following the August 9 primary election, similarly showed Gov. Evers leading Michels 48-44 among likely voters. A handful of other polls conducted post-primary have shown the incumbent with an advantage of zero to three points, within each poll’s margin of error.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R) is running for a third term against Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D). The September Marquette poll showed Sen. Johnson leading his challenger 49-48 among likely voters, a huge swing from the previous month’s poll that found Lt. Gov. Barnes ahead by seven percentage points, 52-45 among likely voters. Two other August polls found Barnes leading Johnson by two and four points among registered voters, but like the Marquette poll, September polls have found Johnson with a lead by as much as 4 points.
Both statewide races are attracting significant national attention and millions of dollars in candidate and third-party spending on advertising.
Marquette University Law School plans to release two more statewide polls of Wisconsin voters before the general election on November 8.
Statewide Candidates Schedule Debates
The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association (WBA) and WISN-TV will sponsor one gubernatorial debate between Michels and Gov. Evers on Friday, October 14. The debate is expected to begin at 7 PM local time and last for about an hour. It will be moderated by Jill Geisler, a media professor at Loyola University Chicago and former Milwaukee-area TV news director. A panel of television and radio journalists will provide questions for the candidates. The debate will be available for broadcast by all WBA member stations.
The managers of the Evers and Michels campaigns released a joint statement about the debate: “There are plenty of differences between the two candidates, but we agree that voters deserve this opportunity to hear directly from each candidate. This will be the only debate between the candidates before the November election.”
This is the fewest number of gubernatorial debates since 1998. From 2002 to 2018, the major party candidates for governor debated one another two to four times during the general election.
So far, Sen. Johnson and Lt. Gov. Barnes have also agreed to participate in one debate, sponsored by WTMJ, WisPolitics, and the Milwaukee Business Journal. It will be held at Marquette University in Milwaukee on Thursday, October 13. WBA also proposed a debate between the U.S. Senate candidates on October 7; Johnson has accepted that invitation, while Barnes has yet to accept or decline. Meanwhile, Barnes plans to appear at an upcoming candidate forum hosted by the Main Street Alliance and the Wisconsin Farmers Union. Johnson has been invited but has not yet publicly responded.
If you would like to host a legislative tour at your site, please contact the WISCA office at WISCA@badgerbay.co. We will work with you and your legislators to coordinate the meetings and will provide participating members with full support, including legislator/candidate bios, advocacy tips, issue briefings, and supporting documents.
WISCA’s committee structure allows the association to be productive and is essential to meeting our principal goals. Of course, member service is voluntary and can lead to significant committee turnover at times. In fact, the WISCA Legislative Committee already has a handful of vacancies and is facing more member resignations due to retirement. In short, WISCA actively recruiting new members to serve on the Legislative Committee.
The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, federal legislation that would reform prior authorization in Medicare Advantage plans, was unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representative earlier this month and is now under further consideration by the Senate.
Providing much-needed oversight and transparency while protecting beneficiaries from unnecessary care delays and denials, the bill would require Medicare Advantage plans to:
· Establish an electronic prior authorization program.
· Standardize and streamline the prior authorization process for routinely approved services, including establishing a list of services eligible for real-time prior authorization decisions.
· Ensure prior authorization requests are reviewed by qualified medical personnel.
· Increase transparency around Medicare Advantage prior authorization requirements and their use.
Passage of this bipartisan bill was driven by more than 320 co-sponsors and over 500 endorsing organizations concerned over patient access to prompt care. In fact, a recently released report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General verified that some Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are inappropriately delaying and denying care.
Association of Wisconsin Surgery Centers
563 Carter Court, Suite B Kimberly WI 54136
920-560-5627 I WISCA@badgerbay.co