By William Prentice, ASCA Chief Executive Officer

If you work in or with an ASC, I encourage you to make plans now to join ASCA May 3-6, 2017, for our next annual meeting – ASCA 2017. We will be convening at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, just outside Washington, D.C., and less than 10 miles from Capitol Hill.

The location of this year’s meeting offers some special opportunities. For one, ASCA is inviting everyone at this meeting to visit with their members of Congress and their staff during National Advocacy Day activities built into the meeting program this year. You don’t have to have any experience making these kinds of visits. You just need to indicate that you want to participate when you register for the full meeting. ASCA staff will set your appointments, provide you with information and resources you can use during your meetings and accompany you and your colleagues during your visits on Capitol Hill. This is your chance to tell your representatives in Washington, D.C., about your ASC and advocate for the support you need to be able to continue to provide top-quality care to your patients.

Another special opportunity tied to the location of our meeting this year is that we have been able to invite representatives from four federal agencies to join us. You will be able to hear firsthand from officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. Topics will range from drug shortages and the disposal of controlled substances to preparing for a Medicare survey and protecting your patients and staff from a violent event in your facility.

This year’s program also offers you some special opportunities that don’t rely on location. On Saturday morning, a set of 90-minute sessions will give you an opportunity to take a deeper dive into several ASC management topics that are essential to the well-being of your facility. You can choose from sessions on designing and maintaining an effective medication management program; managing claims denials and bundled payments; avoiding violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law and False Claims Act; and more.

If you are concerned about complying with the new Life Safety Code Rules, making sure that the human resources policies you have in place provide adequate protection for your staff and your ASC or passing your next accreditation survey, I recommend that you look into the pre-meeting workshops offered this year. All will be led by experienced ASC professionals who will provide real-world solutions to your everyday challenges and help you keep your patients safe and your ASC compliant.

Another special feature of this year’s meeting is a full day of sessions on infection prevention. With quality of care top of mind in health care today, infection prevention remains a top priority in every health care setting. I expect that you will see multiple sessions on the schedule that day that speak to infection prevention concerns you are facing in your ASC. This intensive infection prevention programming is something that ASCs have asked ASCA to provide, and we are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity as part of ASCA 2017.

When you register for ASCA 2017, you get access to more than 60 educational sessions, extensive networking opportunities, the largest ASC exhibit hall of the year and a meeting dedicated exclusively to ASCs. With presentations and conversations focused exclusively on what you do each day, this meeting is your opportunity to take a short break from providing patient care to connect with others in the ASC community and examine emerging trends, new tools and technology, best practices and the future of your ASC. Up to 17 nursing contact hours, 17 administrator education units and 24 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits are available.

While I consider this meeting a “must-do” for everyone on staff at an ASC, I also want to extend a special invitation to every physician who treats patients in an ASC. The opportunities that this meeting offers you to find out more about the many ways an ASC supports you in your practice is just one reason. Another is that these are uncertain times in health care, and a large part of the future of your ASC and the ASC model of care is in your hands. This meeting will give you, and everyone who participates, an opportunity to get more involved in the activities and conversations taking place now that will define the health care landscape and marketplace of tomorrow.

In addition to the many opportunities this meeting provides, Washington, D.C., offers a long list of unique sightseeing opportunities. I encourage you to come early or stay late and invite family and friends to join you in visiting some of the city’s historic and cultural centers. Next door to our host hotel, you will also find extensive shopping opportunities and a new casino that opened late last year.

You can learn more about ASCA 2017 and register at www.ascassociation.org/ASCA2017. I hope to see you in Washington, D.C., this May. 

William Prentice is the chief executive officer of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.