The Texas ASC Society's Legislative Retreat

On January 19, 2024, TASCS members heard from state legislators and rule makers about what the future holds for regulatory and legislative changes that will directly impact the ambulatory care industry in Texas. 

 The Texas ASC Society at 2024 txlege retreat

The Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society (TASCS) board of directors and stakeholders met last week at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, in order to focus on this year’s advocacy goals leading up to the next legislative session in 2025. 

The day started out with TASCS lobbyist, Eric Woomer of Congress Avenue Partners, reviewing the current state of Texas politics and the bills of interest that passed last session. Next up was a state agency panel discussing updates regarding ambulatory surgery center (ASC) rules and regulations. Sarah Mueller from Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) reviewed the itemized billing legislation that passed and the informal rules that were recently released by HHSC for stakeholder input prior to being published in the Texas Register. Mueller also spoke to the guidance letter sent to providers by HHSC. 

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‘Tis The Season…Of Giving

With the holidays approaching, the Dallas Endoscopy Center shows how ASCs can give back and show just how much they care.

The Dallas Endoscopy Center (DEC) never slows down! 

This summer, they opened their new center.

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Maximizing the Power of Text Messaging Capabilities in Your ASC

 doctor texting on phone

Text messaging has become one of the most important communication mechanisms for ASCs. It's a fast, efficient, cost-effective, and highly successful way to get timely messages to patients and their caregivers, staff and physicians, and vendors. Given the rise of spam calls, which are motivating more people to ignore incoming calls and voicemails from numbers they do not recognize, texting is a communication mechanism increasingly preferred by the public. 

That's good news for ASCs already using or planning to add texting capabilities. Text messaging can be leveraged to communicate with stakeholders on a variety of financial, clinical, and operational issues. In fact, it can be used in many ways ASCs are often not taking advantage of — applications that go well beyond standard uses like appointment reminders and arrival and check-in instructions. 

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Celebrating Legacy Staff At ASCs

The Texas ASC Society is honoring seasoned staff members of the ambulatory care industry.

This National ASC Month, the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society (TASCS) wanted to do something special...

Amidst a workforce shortage and supply chain issues...despite a pandemic...over all the years, with all the changes...there have been dedicated employees who have stuck with it. They were tested, but they never gave up. For more than 50 years, ambulatory surgery centers have been delivering high-quality, cost-effective care, and the professionals listed below have been part of this for decade after decade.

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TASCS End-Of-Session Report For The 88th Texas Legislative Session

The Texas ASC Society, along with Congress Avenue Partners, spoke up and out on important industry topics during this year’s legislative session.

texas ambulatory surgery center society txlege

Throughout the year, the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society’s (TASCS) advocacy and regulatory efforts are enhanced, thanks to its lobby team, Congress Avenue Partners (CAP). A large part of the government relations and public affairs firm’s strategies come into play during the Texas legislative session. This year alone, the team tracked approximately 300 bills for TASCS, due in large part because members filed a record number of bills after coming off the pandemic session in 2021.  In addition, the budget surplus added to the increase in bill filing, as members saw this session as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make investments in new and existing programs.  

tascs member in txlege office

Prior to session, TASCS and CAP anticipated the legislature’s intent in addressing big health care issues, and how ambulatory surgery centers could be caught up in blanket legislation, with broad definitions of health care facility or health care provider, and this is exactly what happened. The legislature was laser focused on transparency related to health care facilities, physicians, and providers in a way that we have not seen before. Members filed bills to restrict physician/provider authority, eliminate fees, mandate price controls, and require specific payment methods. While claiming these changes would lower health care costs and provide greater consumer protections, the practical outcome would have distorted the health care marketplace, jeopardized the livelihood of providers, resulted in significant financial losses or increased costs for providers, and/or contributed to the rising prices of health care for the consumer.  

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TASCS Road Trip Series: The TWC Gets Inside Glance Into The World Of Ambulatory Care

By tagging along with the TASCS team, the Texas Workforce Commission was able to learn the ins and outs of an ambulatory surgery center – Spicewood Surgery Center in Austin, Texas. 

This month, the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center (TASCS) traveled back to Spicewood Surgery Center, visiting with Administrator Katie Pierson, DNP, RN, ONC and Collin Bradley, MPH, the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) new Industry & Policy Specialist for Outreach & Employer Initiatives.

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TASCS Road Trip Series: Networking & Touring In Corpus Christi

After hosting a networking event for the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) industry, TASCS was able to tour three different ASCs in South Texas.

TASCS embarked on a remarkable summer road trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, joining fellow members of the South Texas ASC industry for a highly beneficial networking event. TASCS President Dallas Freyer, RN BSN, expressed her genuine delight, stating, "It was truly wonderful to unite with everyone at this long-awaited gathering."

Ambulatory surgery centers from around Corpus Christi gathered for a TASCS networking event, as well, which garnered significant attention and was well-attended. Attendees were warmly welcomed by local ASC celebrity, Freyer, who is widely recognized as an expert and mentor in the local market. Known for her reputation of inclusion and helpfulness, her presence added an extra layer of prestige to the occasion.

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TASCS Road Trip Series: Dallas Endoscopy Center's Grand Opening

While out and about this summer, the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society toured a brand new center in Dallas, Texas.

On June 6, the Texas ASC Society team headed to Dallas for a tour and the grand opening of the new Dallas Endoscopy Center, which focuses on outpatient procedures for gastrointestinal endoscopy and colorectal surgery. Previously, this ambulatory surgery center was located on Central Exwpy in Dallas before moving to the downtown Dallas area on Crutcher St.
“The Dallas Endoscopy Center was in its previous location for over 18 years, but in the winter of 2020, we had the opportunity to purchase this location," said TASCS Board Member Susan Cheek, who serves as the administrator of the center. “This has been an almost three year-long project with some pretty major challenges, such as COVID and supply chain issues, but we could not be happier to be in our forever home and share our center opening with everyone today!"
Throughout the facility, there are pops of blue that perfectly match the brand's logo, as well as that add a comforting vibe everywhere from the waiting room and preop to recovery and even the anesthesia station. 
The space also features custom artwork from German-born artist Gisa Elwazir, who lives locally and was in attendance. The bright and whimsical imagery delights the senses and calms the nerves of all who enter.  
These design choices -- combined with the high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centric care, that is easily accessible-- are just a few of the reasons why the Dallas Endoscopy Center is a top choice for ambulatory surgery in Texas. We are thrilled to have Cheek on our board, we loved attending this event, and we are so excited about this facility's next steps!
Stay tuned to see where our summer road trip takes us next...

TASCS Road Trip Series: Another Stop At A Houston-Based ASC

The Texas ASC Society loves visiting different ambulatory surgery Fannin Surgicare in Houston!

fannin surgicare staff

Pictured: TASCS Team -- Executive Director Krista DuRapau and Membership & Meeting Coordinator Jennifer Schlabach + Fannin Surgicare Team -- Director of Clinical Operations Brandy Chapa, BSN; OR charge nurse Christina Bailey, BSN; Pre-Op/PACU Manager Karen Hawkins, BSN; Medical Director and anesthesiologist Dr. Steve Stayer; and Administrator Vidal Scuggs

The next stop on the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society's road trip was Fannin Surgicare, an ambulatory surgery center located on the campus of The Woman's Hospital of Texas in Houston. Because of its location, women and children make up the bulk of its patients, with services including a large amount of upper/lower endoscopy, ENT, hearing restoration, urology, breast reconstruction, pediatric orthopedics, general surgery, and obstetrics-gynecology.

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TASCS Road Trip Series: Our First ASC Tour Of The Year

Each year, the Texas ASC Society heads out across the Lone Star State, stopping by to see ambulatory care leaders and touring their high-quality, cost-effective surgery the new Kelsey-Seybold Memorial Villages Campus!

the new Kelsey-Seybold Memorial Villages Campus

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You Attended Our Conference...Now What?

Another annual conference has come and gone for the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society. There were SO many of you present as speakers, vendors, sponsors, and guests...businesses and groups from all over, coming together for the ambulatory surgery center industry. We hope you all benefited from the learning, the networking, and the fun (we're looking at you, bingo-playing chickens;).

2023 annual conference

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TASCS + ASCA: Advocating For High-Quality, Cost-Effective Healthcare In Texas

National Advocacy Day helps build relationships with policymakers who make decisions that directly impact ambulatory surgery centers – facilities that provide same-day surgical care.

national advocacy day

This week, Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society (TASCS) Board Members Akshay Tavkar of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic and Kayla Schneeweiss-Keene of Mann Cataract Surgery Center, Executive Director Krista DuRapau, and honorary Texan Amanda Penrod of RFX Solutions participated in the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association’s (ASCA) National Advocacy Day.

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Chickens At An ASC Conference? Bingo.

Austin’s famous bingo-playing chickens will make a special appearance at the Texas ASC Society’s annual conference next week!

On Sunday, February 19, Krista DuRapau (the TASCS executive director) and Jenn Schlabach (the society’s membership and meeting coordinator), went to The Little Longhorn Saloon, an Austin honky-tonk dating back to WWII, for a game of chicken bingo. You’re probably wondering if chickens can actually play bingo, and TASCS can attest to the fact that, indeed, they doo-doo.

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New Year, New Ways To Get Involved With TASCS

From committees to events, there are numerous ways to collaborate with the Texas ASC Society!

The Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society (TASCS) serves as the public policy advocate for the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) industry.

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Ambulatory Surgery Center Reporting: What To Know

Get a brief look into the updates on reporting for ASCs, as delivered by Gina Throneberry of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. 

checklist on clipboard

Thank you to all of those that joined our Virtual Town Hall on December 8! For those of  you who were not able to attend, Gina Throneberry, RN, MBA, CASC, CNOR, Director of  Education and Clinical Affairs at Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), joined us and was able to provide a wealth of information on regulatory and quality measure reporting for ASCs. 

Below you will find an overview of the updates and helpful links from the presentation: 

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Membership Monday: Chris Kralik

Welcome, Chris Kralik of the Digestive Health Center of Plano and Allen, to the TASCS Board!

The Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society is excited to welcome Chris Kralik, BSN, RN, CGRN to our board! You may remember Kralik from last year’s Membership Monday on one of his centers or as a speaker at this year’s Annual Conference. 

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Advocate for Your Center at National Advocacy Day

Mark your calendar for late February and early March of next year, and plan on joining us for ASCA’s National Advocacy Day, as well as Capitol Day and the TASCS 2023 Annual Conference.

ambulatory surgery center association advocacy day

National Advocacy Day and its fly-in, Capitol Day, and our 2023 Annual Conference are all just around the corner, and the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association’s (ASCA) David Opong-Wadee shared the importance of and the goals for these events.

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Texas Health Care Information Collection Leadership Shares The Process Of Data Collection And Distribution

Recently, THCIC spoke with TASCS on healthcare reporting, which provides information that helps consumers to have an impact on the cost and quality of care in Texas.

health report

Texas Health Care Information Collection (THCIC) representatives Tarik Brown, Andy Alegria, and Dee Roes, explained the data collection process, compliance policies, and distribution at one of the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society’s (TASCS) virtual town hall events last month.

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How to Read an EOB: Acuet RCM Explains

A recent virtual event for the Texas ASC community covered explanation of benefit forms, including the components and best practices.

Often referred to as 835, 837, or 5010 files, Explanation of Benefit forms (EOBs) are statements commonly sent to covered individuals and providers from clearing houses. Acuet RCM: Revenue Cycle Management & Consulting representatives –  Founder and President Michael Orseno and  Revenue Cycle Manager Margo Hagiu – explained each component of EOBs and best practices at a recent Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society (TASCS) town hall.

What are the components of an EOB?

Explanation of Benefits forms are composed of the following items: payee, patient information, service performed, date of service, CPT codes, denial codes, service location, billed charges fee, insurance allowable, co-insurance, adjustment reasons and/or codes & remarks, and a brief explanation of adjustment codes. The allowable amount is your contracted amount for the code shown. It is followed by the breakdown of that amount.

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Cybersecurity in the Medical Field

Ambulatory surgery centers need to have solutions in place that help provide security and operational resilience.

 cyber security

As the medical industry continues to evolve, some things are constant, such as the human body’s need for qualified care and the use of technology to help accomplish this. The Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society had a thought-provoking and informative town hall with Medigate by Claroty, discussing the integration of the healthcare field and the world of cybersecurity.

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