Q&A with Maia Kunkel, manager of government affairs at the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), discussing the importance of National ASC Month.
Surgical Information Systems had the good fortune to speak with Maia Kunkel, manager of government affairs at the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), about several topics concerning National ASC Month. Throughout August, ASCA, the national organization that represents ASCs of every specialty in Washington, D.C., supports and shares news about activities that recognize National ASC Month.
Q: What is the importance of National ASC Month?
Maia Kunkel: National ASC Month raises awareness about the numerous benefits the nation’s more than 6,100 ASCs provide. Many potential patients and policymakers remain unaware of the important role that ASCs play in the U.S. healthcare system and the high-quality, cost-efficient surgical care they provide. During August, ASCs tell those in their communities about what differentiates them from other sites of care and the services, comfort, and convenience they offer patients.
Q: What types of activities do ASCs conduct to raise awareness of their facility in their community and the ASC industry overall?
MK: During National ASC Month, ASCs host their elected officials for a tour of their facility. National ASC Month coincides with Congress’s long summer recess and offers ASCs the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their elected officials in their home district. The facility tours give ASC staff a chance to educate their lawmakers on the importance of surgery centers and the impact their facility has in its local community. The tours also offer ASCs an opportunity to showcase their center and build relationships with the individuals who vote on matters that directly impact their ASC.
Q: How should ASCs contact and engage their local legislators and elected officials?
MK: ASCA members have access to a wealth of information as to how to host a facility tour, either virtually or in-person. Any ASC interested in hosting a facility tour for their elected officials should visit ASCA’s facility tour webpage and contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Q: How does ASCA help build greater awareness of the industry during National ASC Month?
MK: Throughout August, ASCA helps facilitate facility tours for lawmakers across the country and highlights the facilities that host tours on social media and in other communications. As it does throughout the year, ASCA continues to meet with members of Congress and their staff to advocate for ASCs and enlist their support for ASCs and the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act of 2021 (H.R. 5818/S. 3132).
Q: What can ASCs do year-round to better promote themselves and the industry?
MK: Besides hosting a facility tour for their elected officials, ASCs have many ways to get involved. ASCA will be highlighting and reposting news about ASCs on its social media pages throughout August and encourages ASCs to post about their center using #NationalASCMonth. ASCs can also write a letter to their members of Congress about the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act and encourage them to become a cosponsor.
Since ASCA launched its letter-writing campaign, more than 500 letters have been sent to Capitol Hill in support of this crucial legislation. Any ASC interested in staying up to date about the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act and other advocacy news, should visit the newly launched ASCAPAC Instagram page.