New Jersey’s ambulatory surgery centers have commissioned their first-ever economic impact study, which found the state’s 230 ASCs contributed $2.6 billion to the state’s economy, paid $60.3 million in taxes and employed more than 6,000 people in 2009.
The study, performed for the New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers by Oxford Outcomes, of Morristown, said the $1.027 billion spent directly by the state’s ASCs in 2009 had a 2.49 multiplier effect, yielding total economic impact of $2.6 billion.
The study was made public in advance of the NJAASC’s first annual conference June 2 at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in the Iselin section of Woodbridge.
The NJAASC is lobbying in Trenton on bills that regulate how ASCs are licensed and inspected, and impact payments made by health plans to ASCs that operate outside insurance company networks.
Jeff Shanton, chair of the NJAASC’s advocacy and legislative affairs committee, said the group would like to see changes in a bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph F. Vitale (D-Woodbridge) to require all ASCs to be licensed and inspected by the state health department. The department currently licenses multi-operating-room ASCs, while single-room surgery centers in doctors’ offices come under the state Board of Medical Examiners.
Shanton said the association supports “across the board regulation — there should be no difference in safety and quality (standards) for hospitals, one-room or multi-room” surgical facilities. The NJAASC does not support Vitale’s bill as it stands. The association is concerned that many one-room surgical centers could not meet the physical design standards for a state license, and they don’t want to become subject to the 3 percent assessment on revenue that the state now imposes on multi-operating-room ASCs licensed by the health department. Vitale has said of surgery centers: “If they are not all being held to the same standard, then we are not doing our job.”
The association has been in existence for at least 15 years, but just did its first-ever economic impact study so legislators will understand “we are employers, and small businesses and taxpayers,” Shanton said. The 6,017 jobs the industry provided in 2009 were largely well-paid jobs: “We are in competition with the hospitals for nurses,” he said.
A key initiative going forward is to invite legislators to visit their local ASCs, Shanton said. “This is a pretty comprehensive grassroots effort, which will try to get every member center to have their (legislators) come to their centers.”
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