HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Connecticut Citizens for Affordable Health Care (CCAHC) – a newly formed coalition mobilizing to preserve patient access to community-based surgical care – today warned patients could soon have reduced access to same-day surgical procedures at ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) statewide, due to a new six percent provider tax effective today.
The tax – included within the Connecticut FY16-FY17 Biennium Budget – will affect the state's 47 ASCs, and the tens of thousands of patients they serve annually, by driving up healthcare costs and triggering closures. Data show approximately 25 percent of the state's ASCs will operate at a loss as a result of the tax if not repealed.
Of the few states that impose a provider tax on ASCs, no other state currently taxes ASCs at the level implemented today in Connecticut. In fact, Rhode Island recently repealed its two percent ASC provider tax.
"Ambulatory surgery centers are a critical part of quality and affordable healthcare across the state, and this tax seriously jeopardizes our ability to stay operational and serve our patients," said Cathy Bartell, Administrator of Connecticut Surgery Center. "Patients value our ability to offer them safe and convenient care, which also happens to be more affordable than hospital-based care. Facility closures and reduced access to ASCs will be felt acutely, punctuating the critical need to repeal this tax and protect patient-preferred community-based care."
ASCs, on average, are reimbursed at nearly half (53 percent) of the rate as Hospital Outpatient Departments (HOPDs), which results in lower costs to patients, insurers and taxpayers. Despite these lower rates, ASCs often outperform hospitals in terms of infection control and ASC patients overwhelmingly reported satisfaction with the care they received.
According to CCAHC, ASC closures triggered by the provider tax will force patients to move from community-based ASCs to HOPDs for their care, cause patients to bear higher medical costs through increased deductibles, co-payments and coinsurance, and cost many Connecticut residents their jobs. ASCs employ hundreds of nurses, surgical technicians and other ancillary staff.
"ASCs already pay multiple taxes, such as property and sales and use tax. The provider tax enacted today will have swift and significantly detrimental impacts on health care delivery across Connecticut," said Glenn Elia, CEO of Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists. "The convenience patients have come to expect will be a thing of the past, as will the important cost savings that taxpayers and insurers want. Our elected officials, whose constituents certainly also benefit from the care we provide, should not delay in repealing this tax immediately."
SOURCE Connecticut Citizens for Affordable Health Care