The American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers and FASA agreed to merge, the groups announced. The two largest ASC trade groups will become one organization on Jan. 1, 2008the same date a new payment system for ASCs will kick in under Medicare, setting a new compensation rate of 65% of what hospital outpatient departments get paid. Some ASCs will see their payments drop dramatically under the new system.
This regulatory development underscores the need for the two associations to merge their knowledge and resources, and to effectively influence Medicare policy and national legislative initiatives that support ASCs, according to a written statement from the groups. The merger would provide other benefits, such as a unified voice supporting ASCs; improved services to address challenges and opportunities ASCs face in state regulatory and legislative policies; expanded services, seminars and membership communications for the ASC industry; and expanded participation in benchmarking efforts and other available resources to address quality and transparency initiatives.
The new association will be headquartered in Alexandria, Va., where FASA is based, and will be governed by a board of directors and other leaders that will fully incorporate the expertise of both the AAASC and FASA. Kathy Bryant, current president of FASA, will assume the role of chief executive officer of the new association. After supporting the transition, Craig Jeffries, executive director of the AAASC, will step aside from any staff responsibility, according to the statement.
When asked whether the AAASC's employees who are based in Johnson City, Tenn., would join the new organization in Alexandria, FASA said: "We're going to evaluate that situation on a case-by-case basis and see what we're going to do. There's lots of details to be worked out." -- by Jennifer Lubell