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News: Legislative Updates

Wisconsin Surgery Centers Applaud Senate Republicans for Action on ASC Assessment in Budget Proposal

Wednesday, July 19, 2017   (0 Comments)
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The Association of Wisconsin Surgery Centers (WISCA) thanks Senate Republicans for their budget proposal that repeals the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) assessment and continues support for Medicaid patients through sustained funding of access payments to ASC’s.

“The Senate Republican budget does two very important things for Wisconsin’s ambulatory surgery centers,” said Stephanie Harvey, President of WISCA. “First, it follows the Governor’s budget and repeals the ASC assessment, which for many centers has become a burdensome tax that stifles expansion and investment. Second, it provides a level of Medicaid access payments high enough so that centers who serve a high volume of MA patients will be able to continue doing so. It really is a win-win solution for both patients and ambulatory surgery centers across the state of Wisconsin,” Harvey concluded.

Due to changes with federal rules and limitations that govern the ASC assessment program, and upon a recommendation from DHS, the governor’s 2017-19 budget eliminates the program. The ASC assessment was put into place in 2009-11 budget to provide additional reimbursement to ASCs that serve Medicaid patients. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, in 2015-16, more than half of Wisconsin’s ASCs received less in access payment reimbursements than they paid into the program. In early June, the Joint Committee on Finance voted to maintain current law at a lower assessment level which would have continued access payments, but also kept the taxing mechanism in place.

With the ever-increasing focus on healthcare costs, ASC’s play a critical role in the health care delivery system as a lower cost, high quality, high standards, option for patients. The Senate Republican budget proposal provides continued Medicaid access payments for ASCs ensuring all patients have access to these options. In addition, elimination of the assessment will allow all ASCs in the state to use those dollars previously spent on the tax to increase options for patients who opt for surgery outside of a traditional hospital setting.

A strong network of ASCs in Wisconsin effectively lowers the overall cost of healthcare in the state, and the Senate Republican budget helps bolster that network.

WISCA is the association that represents ASC’s throughout Wisconsin. ASC’s are single or multi-specialty healthcare facilities that perform same-day outpatient surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures. WISCA represents over 70% of the all ASC’s in the state including free standing and system/hospital owned surgery centers.

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