The Connecticut General Assembly recently imposed a deeply flawed 6-percent provider tax on same-day surgical procedures at ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) throughout the state.
These centers are a vital part of Connecticut’s health care system, performing an estimated 210,000 skilled surgical procedures on more than 154,000 patients seeking treatment each year.
Unless this egregious tax is repealed, patients’ access to high quality, cost-effective, community-based surgical care will be at extreme risk. Indeed, many ASCs are now facing the possibility of closure, with 25 percent expected to operate at a loss as a direct result of the new provider tax.
As their doors close, patients will be forced to leave their community-based ASCs to receive care in hospital outpatient departments, which then increases costs to patients, employers, insurers and taxpayers.
There’s also no precedent for this tax. No other state imposes such an enormous provider tax on ASCs. Those that have tried have quickly eliminated it. In fact, our neighbor Rhode Island recently repealed a 2-percent tax on their ASCs because of the negative effects.
Sadly, we do not even fully know the economic impact of the tax because it was included in the budget without a legislative hearing or a proper analysis, which would have revealed how harmful a 6-percent tax will be on the accessibility and delivery of care.
Last, data show Connecticut voters also strongly oppose the tax. In a recent poll of voters across the state, 83 percent of respondents called the ASC provider tax “wrong.”
I urge our state lawmakers to listen to their constituents. It’s time to repeal the 6-percent ASC provider tax and save our community-based surgery centers.
The writer is president of the Connecticut Orthopedic Society and a practicing physician at Danbury Surgical Center.