Second installment in the “Overcoming ASC Management Nightmares” blog series. Click here for Part 1 and Part 3.
ASC Management Nightmare #2: Keeping Up with Regulatory Changes
Rarely a week goes by where there are no new regulatory changes approved or existing regulations revised. This should come as no surprise when you think about how many regulations ASC’s must meet to remain in compliance. There’s Medicare’s interpretative guidelines. There’s HIPAA and the HITECH Act. There are coding rules, billing rules, human resources rules. The list goes on. On top of federal regulations, ASC management must understand their state-specific rules, some of which can trump federal rules.
Staying abreast of all the ongoing regulatory changes is a daunting, but crucial, task. If I fail to do so, I risk our ASCs falling out of compliance. Just the thought of that happening puts a knot in my stomach.
Fortunately, I’ve found comfort by using resources that help me stay abreast of regulatory changes and their effects on ASCs.
The national Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) is a tremendous source of information. ASCA offers valuable education and networking opportunities through its annual meeting, monthly webinars, and periodic multi-day seminars. Members receive regular emails highlighting changes to federal regulations as well as those under consideration. ASCA has assigned staff members to monitor and research rules and regulations. You can be confident that if there are regulatory changes, they will know about it.
In addition, ASCA members can take advantage of ASCA Connect, an online discussion group. Active ASC professionals post a wide variety of questions and requests every day. Most of them receive helpful responses. Members of the ASC community are eager to help one another and willing to share their knowledge and tools. ASCA Connect provides a great opportunity to network with other members of ASC management outside of in-person meetings.
Many states also have their own ASC associations. If you’re not currently involved with your state’s association, consider joining. The active state associations monitor important regulatory developments and share this information with their members. They also typically host networking meetings and/or educational conferences.
Finally, there are other ASC trade conferences you may want to consider attending. Professional societies, law firms, and industry publications, for example, host their own meetings.
Information is your biggest tool in keeping up with regulatory changes. Organizations that provide timely, accurate information on regulatory changes are your most important allies. In this ever-changing regulatory environment, there’s no such thing as too much education.
Lisa Austin, VP, Facility Development