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Photo Caption : The NJAASC delegation recently met with the legislative staff of members of New Jersey’s U.S. congressional delegation and U.S. senators to advocate for two bills — H.R. 1453, the “Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act of 2015” and H.R. 1220, the “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2015” — that would provide for improved access to care in ambulatory surgery centers settings. Pictured are Senator Robert Menendez and Marsha Thornhill, MD, Bergen Anesthesia Associates, Director of Anesthesia for Teaneck Surgical Center.

Trenton, NJ (October 26, 2016) –The New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (NJAASC) sent a delegation to Washington D.C. in September 2016 to meet with the legislative staff of members of New Jersey’s U.S. congressional delegation and U.S. senators to advocate for two bills  — H.R. 1453, the “Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act of 2015” and H.R. 1220, the “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2015” — that would provide for improved access to care in ambulatory surgery centers settings.

The New Jersey delegation split into two groups. The first, which was led by NJAASC President Andrew Weiss and included Joseph Savon, M.D., of the Endo Center at Voorhees; Patrick Stewart, executive director of NJAASC, and Edmund Abramovitz of The Alexander Group Consultants, met with key staff members from the offices of Senator Cory Booker, Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01),  Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), Rep. Thomas MacArthur (NJ-03),  and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

The other group, led by NJAASC Board member Sarah Malaniak from Ambulatory Center for Endoscopy, included Evelyn Figueroa, Teaneck Surgical Center;  Aimee Fernandez-Cruz, RN, BSN, Teaneck Surgical Center;  Marsha Thornhill, MD, Bergen Anesthesia Associates, Teaneck Surgical Center, and  Brian Bauer, MD, Patient Care Associates.  This group discussed issues with Senator Robert Menendez, as well as met with key congressional staff from the offices of Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-5), Rep. Albio Sires (NJ-8), and Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10).

After a thorough issues briefing by Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) Washington staff on September 12th, the NJAASC delegation went to Capitol Hill to advocate for ASCA’s issue campaign, “Advancing Surgical Care and Quality Patient Care in New Jersey” and spoke to representatives about the two bills, seeking their support. The delegation also spoke about how ASCs save Medicare money, as revealed in a recent UC-Berkley study which pointed to the 120 most common ASC procedures that ultimately saved Medicare $2.3 billion.

In summarizing the NJAASC delegation’s key points, Weiss noted, “H.R. 1220 would correct an oversight loophole in current law that requires Medicare beneficiaries who often expect they will not have a copay for a preventive screening colonoscopy to incur the cost of a copayment if a polyp is discovered and removed during the procedure. We are confident that is not what Congress actually intended, and H.R. has broad bipartisan support.

“H.R. 1453 addresses the disparity in the annual Medicare inflationary update factor between ASCs and primarily hospital outpatient department (HOPD) surgery providers.  We explained that we are not seeking rate parity with hospital outpatient departments, only equivalency in the inflation rates so that ASCs do not fall further behind HOPDs.  The current rate uncertainty causes turmoil in the ASC marketplace, with reports that some ASCs may close their doors, or sell and convert to higher-price hospital outpatient departments. If passed, both bills would be a win-win for both ASCs and their patients who are seeking the highest quality, cost-effective care.” Weiss added.

About NJAASC
The New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (NJAASC) is an incorporated, non-profit organization which was founded in 1992 by owners of ambulatory surgery centers. Its mission is to promote and advance the efforts of New Jersey’s ambulatory surgery centers in the delivery of optimum patient care in a cost effective manner. It offers information, educational and networking opportunities for everyone associated with the ASC industry; provides advocacy on issues affecting its members; monitors state and federal legislation, and interacts with the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) on state and federal issues. For more information, visit www.njaasc.org.

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