In a message to its members, the American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (AAASC) and FASA announced that the two organizations will merge, effective Jan. 1, 2008.
AAASC executive director Craig Jeffries and FASA president Kathy Bryant wrote the following: “We are writing to inform you that the nation's two largest ASC associations have agreed to merge. In discussions involving the Board of Directors of the American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (AAASC), FASA and the Foundation for Ambulatory Surgery in America (the foundation) over the last five months, key leaders of the ASC community have been working together to create an association that will provide ASCs with the leadership, cohesive voice and comprehensive services they need and deserve.
"As of January 1, 2008, AAASC and FASA will become one organization to be known as the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA). On this same day, Medicare will begin to implement the biggest change in its ASC payment system in the last 20 years -- a development that underscores a major benefit that current AAASC and FASA members will realize as a result of this merger: the value that the combined strengths and resources of both associations can offer them as they go about attempting to influence Medicare policy and national legislative initiatives that support ASCs.
"Other benefits of this merger include a unified voice supporting ASCs' improved services to address the growing challenges and opportunities ASCs face in state regulatory and legislative policies, expanded services, seminars and membership communications for the ASC industry to support the growth and success of each individual ASC, expanded participation in benchmarking efforts and other available resources to address quality and transparency initiatives headquartered in Alexandria, Va.
"The new national association will be governed by a Board of Directors and other leaders who will fully incorporate the expertise of both AAASC and FASA. In addition, two new directors who do not come from either of the existing boards will be appointed to reinforce the fresh beginning that this combination of ASC advocates represents. Alsie Sydness-Fitzgerald, CASC, will be the initial chair of the new organization, and chair-elect of the new organization, David Shapiro, MD, will become chair at the conclusion of Sydness-Fitzgerald's term. Current FASA chair Allen Hecht and AAASC president Joseph Banno, MD, will both serve as immediate past chairs.
"The education and research arm of the ASC community will be known as the Ambulatory Surgery Foundation. David Shapiro, MD, will serve as chair of the foundation. The foundation will conduct a meeting in San Antonio, May 14-17, 2008, which will serve as the annual meeting for the ASCA. By combining AAASC’s and FASA’s annual meetings, we expect attendees and exhibitors to be able to enjoy an enhanced educational and networking experience. Kathy Bryant will assume the role of chief executive officer of the new ASC association. After supporting the transition, Craig Jeffries will step aside from any staff responsibility.
"More details on the transition will be provided to you shortly. We ask for your patience as we work through all the final details that combining the records of these two important ASC associations will involve. Rest assured, we place great value on your membership and will make every effort to make the transition as seamless as possible.
"We are confident that this new organization will enhance our ability to provide the services you are going to need to meet the challenges ahead.”