ASCA News Digest (August 5, 2014)

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August 5, 2014





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ASCA Highlights


One Month Left to Save on ASCA’s 2014 Fall Seminar

Design an itinerary built to fit your budget and your travel schedule by registering for one, two or all three days of ASCA's 2014 Fall Seminar. ASCA members enjoy discounts and can save even more by registering by August 31. The seminar, Oct. 9-11, in Scottsdale, Arizona, offers you an outstanding opportunity to tap into the expertise of some of the top experts in ASC management today as you explore practical solutions for making the most of new trends and best practices in your ASC. MORE
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Join hundreds of ASCs from around the country on Wednesday, August 13, and celebrate National ASC Day. ASCA can help you set up a tour of your center with an elected official. Tours are the best way to show the great work you do. For help participating in National ASC Day or setting up a tour, please contact Jack Coleman at jcoleman@ascassociation.org. MORE
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CMS' recently-instituted quality reporting program for ASCs poses new challenges for perioperative leaders in the ASC setting. Learn what quality reporting is required and get key definitions and answers to frequently asked questions about the measures your ASC needs to report during ASCA's next webinar on August 19. The webinar will be offered free of charge and a quality reporting program update will be provided. MORE
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The availability of critical lifesaving medications has become a serious concern across the health care system. ASCA is conducting a brief survey to collect information that will help guide ASCA and government agencies, such as the FDA, as they respond to these critical shortages. If your center has experienced a shortage within the past year, please take a couple of minutes and fill out the survey. You will need to fill out one survey for each drug. MORE
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The CDC is hosting two webinars for ASC staff reporting healthcare personnel (HCP) influenza vaccination summary data to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) and will cover requirements for collecting and entering HCP influenza vaccination summary data. The webinars will be offered on August 18 and August 27. Each webinar is the same, so facilities need to register for only one. MORE
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Simplify your business office operations. Surgical Notes is a nationwide provider of transcription, coding, and document management applications. The ASC industry’s largest management companies and roughly 20,000 healthcare providers trust Surgical Notes to provide customer-focused solutions that eliminate manual processes, streamline workflow, and accelerate the revenue cycle. Visit us at www.surgicalnotes.com or call 800-459-5616 today!



We're here for you.
It's a simple concept, but how many partners answer your questions and help guide you in your quest to manage your revenue cycle? LaClaro is always here to answer questions, offer guidance, and make sure your team has the data it needs to make better decisions for your facility.

When a patient with a history of cardiac conditions is scheduled for surgery at an ASC, staff must work to ensure the condition will not lead to perioperative complications. ASCs should determine whether the patient's cardiac condition has been "optimally treated," as these patients could have problems that delay recovery and increase the need for unplanned hospital admission. MORE
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A growing number of ASC professionals from across the country are joining forces through ASCAPAC. Participation in ASCA’s non-partisan political action committee has increased 30% in the first half of 2014. Many people still question, though, what ASCAPAC is and why it is important. The truth is that ASCAPAC is an integral piece of ASCA’s work to protect and promote surgical centers to policy makers in Washington, DC. MORE
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Support Excellence in Your ASC
Register for ASCA’s 2014 Fall Seminar, October 9-11, in Scottsdale, AZ. Get innovative solutions and state-of-the-industry advice for improving clinical care, business office management, materials management and your ASC’s bottom line. Attend one, two or all three days of the seminar. Early registration discounts end August 31.



Earn Your Continuing Education Credits
Get the insider information and real-world solutions you need to navigate the regulatory and accreditation requirements, billing and coding changes and clinical and operational concerns you face in your ASC every day by signing up now for ASCA’s 2014 Webinar Series. ASCA members save $50 on each webinar.



Save the Date for ASCA 2015
Mark your calendar for next year’s annual meeting, May 13-16, 2015. ASCA 2015 will take place at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center. The hotel, just five minutes from Disney World, boasts 10 restaurants/lounges, 18-hole championship golf, a rejuvenating spa and a dedicated children’s splash park.

Industry News


CMS Confirms ICD-10 Deadline
HealthLeaders Media (08/01/14) Leppert, Michelle

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released its final rule regarding the implementation of ICD-10, in which it confirmed that health care providers will be required to use the new code set beginning Oct. 1, 2015. The move comes after President Obama signed a measure earlier this year that pushed back the implementation of ICD-10 to that date. HHS said in its final rule that delaying the implementation of ICD-10 until next year is the least expensive option and will also allow health care providers to benefit from the new code set as soon as possible. Meanwhile, there are indications that coders in the industry are getting ready for the implementation of ICD-10 despite the delay. A survey conducted by the American Academy of Professional Coders in June found that 75 percent of the organization's 5,000 members are making significant progress in their efforts to prepare for the implementation of ICD-10, while 25 percent reported having completed all necessary ICD-10 training. A separate survey conducted by Edifecs, eHealth Initiative, and the American Health Information Management Association in June found that 68 percent of respondents were planning additional ICD-10 training before the implementation of the new code set.
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Expert Panel Recommends Sweeping Changes to Doctor Training System
Kaiser Health News (07/29/14) Rovner, Julie

An Institute of Medicine panel says the federal government needs to revise how it pays for the training of doctors, saying the current $15 billion system is not creating the medical workforce the nation requires. Medicare and other federal programs currently provide more than $11 billion annually in payments to support the training of doctors who have graduated medical school, while states contribute nearly $4 billion annually through Medicaid. The report calls for distributing funds through a new "GME [graduate medical education] Policy Council" that would handle workforce issues and commission research on how well the federal dollars are being spent. The panel also favored making flat, "per resident" payments to training sponsors based on the national per-resident amount, adjusted for geography, which would likely impact major teaching hospitals in the Northeast.
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Docs Complain to CMS About 'Sunshine' Data Disclosures
Wall Street Journal (07/28/14) Loftus, Peter

Several medical societies and pharmaceutical trade groups are urging the federal government to add more details to data showing how much drug manufacturers pay doctors, as required by the Sunshine Act. The law requires most drug and device makers to report to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) detailed information about payments and gifts provided to U.S. doctors and teaching hospitals. A recent letter from the groups says CMS has not explained how users will be able to distinguish between payments. Although the disclosures are being made in stages, payments will begin to appear publicly in September. PhRMA's John Murphy notes that after August 27, physicians will no longer be able to easily challenge payment data.
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How Much, Doc? New Laws Aim to Help Maine Consumers Understand Medical Bills
Bangor Daily News (ME) (07/31/14) Farwell, Jackie

In Maine, two new state laws are expected to help consumers deal with health care costs. One law requires hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to provide the average charge for any inpatient service or outpatient procedure upon request, including estimated totals for uninsured patients. A notice also must be displayed to inform individuals about the availability of such information. The second law requires health practitioners and organizations in Maine to compile a list of their most common procedures, or anything performed more than 50 times per year. These groups must also list the price that would be paid by an uninsured patient for each procedure, inform patients about the list, and provide it upon request.
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Surgery Center of Oklahoma: Savings to County Government Exceed $570,000 in Five Months
CapitolBeatOK.com (07/24/2014) McGuigan, Patrick B.

In March, Oklahoma County entered into an agreement with the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, a multispecialty facility in Oklahoma City, for a number of common surgical procedures. The move reflects estimated savings of $573,814.22 for the county government health plan for public employees after 89 employees underwent surgeries at the center. Prices for common surgical procedures at the center are usually about one-sixth to one-tenth of the cost at most hospitals. Surgery Center of Oklahoma posts online, up-front prices for 112 medical procedures in such areas as orthopedics, ear/nose/throat, general surgery, urology, ophthalmology, foot and ankle, and reconstructive plastic.
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Johnson & Johnson Pulls Hysterectomy Device From Hospitals
Wall Street Journal (07/30/14) Kamp, Jon; Levitz, Jennifer

Laparoscopic power morcellators manufactured by Johnson & Johnson will no longer be sold because of a risk of spreading cancer in women. In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration instructed physicians not to use the tool for cutting up fibroids and uteruses during minimally invasive surgery. Uterine cancers called sarcomas may appear like benign fibroids, so using a morcellator can actually help spread malignancies and other diseased tissues inside the body. A recent study from Columbia University estimates that 1 in 368 women undergoing hysterectomies have a hidden uterine cancer that could be spread by a morcellator.
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Cataract Patients Are Younger Than Ever
Black Mountain News (N.C.) (07/29/2014) Hootman, Barbara

Although cataracts are common in the elderly, a growing number of Americans aged 40 or older are being diagnosed with the condition, according to Prevent Blindness America. One possible cause for this is prolonged exposure to sunlight, says Dr. Cory Partlow, of Black Mountain Family Eye Care in North Carolina, as well as risk factors including smoking, diabetes, and a family history of cataracts. Surgery is the only way to successfully treat the condition. Dr. Christina Smith, an optometrist in Black Mountain, N.C., notes that the procedure is quick, only taking about 20 minutes, with no stitches and "good visual function almost immediately. The benefits definitely outweigh the small risks."
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Mercy, Partner Acquire Majority Stake in Surgery Center
Sioux City Journal (IA) (07/28/14) Butz, Dolly A.

United Surgical Partners International (USPI) has partnered with Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City, Iowa, to jointly acquire a majority stake in the Siouxland Surgery Center in Dakota Dunes, S.D. Siouxland is a 40-bed facility that is supported by more than 130 physicians and providers who perform various same-day and extended-stay general and specialized surgical procedures. USPI, which will oversee the Siouxland Surgery Center, also manages more than 215 surgical centers nationwide. Mercy Director of Marketing and Planning Deb Lemmon said committees will be formed to discuss the integration of Mercy and the Siouxland Surgery Center. Lemmon noted that the new partnership will lead to an investment of more than $100 million in improvements to surrounding facilities, a chronic disease registry, support for community health programs, and a streamlined information technology system.
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Investigators Warn of Possible Perils in Fall With Health Site
New York Times (07/31/14) P. A16 Pear, Robert

Government Accountability Office investigators say serious problems continue to plague HealthCare.gov, and the federal health marketplace may not be ready for millions more people to enroll in coverage this fall--even though the White House has said the problems were mostly solved. The report indicates the marketplace and website were over budget and behind schedule due to the Obama Administration's "new and changing requirements." The auditors said the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services awarded a $91 million contract to Accenture Financial Services in January to continue working on the site, but the costs have risen to more than $175 million. Among other things, the estimated costs for establishing the marketplace climbed from $56 million to $209 million from September 2011 to February 2014, and there was a threefold increase to $85 million in costs to build a data hub connecting federal and state agencies.
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Error: You Have No Payments From Pharma
ProPublica (07/21/2014) Ornstein, Charles

The federal government now allows physicians to log into the secure Open Payments Web site to check the payments attributed to them by device and drug manufacturers. Later this year, payments made from August to December 2013 will be made public under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Physicians who believe the material about them is incorrect can contest it in advance. Meanwhile, early users of the site say it takes an hour or longer for doctors to get verified and logged in, after which they are seeing a message, "You have the following errors on the page. There are no results that match the specified search criteria." A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the "error" message indicates there are no results for the doctor.
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UC Doctors Offer Same-Day Surgeries in Davis Surgery Center
Sacramento Business Journal (07/17/14) Robertson, Kathy

A new partnership between the Davis Surgery Center in Davis, Calif., and the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento will enable some outpatient surgeries and procedures to be done in Davis by UC Davis doctors. These include arthroscopic repairs to the hand, knee, shoulder, wrist and elbow. The arrangement helps reduce pressure at the university medical center and allows UC Davis physicians to offer Davis residents a convenient location to obtain treatment at lower cost. The Davis Surgery Center is owned and operated by AmSurg Corp. in cooperation with a small group of local doctors.
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Viral Contamination of Aerosol and Surfaces Through Toilet Use in Health Care and Other Settings
American Journal of Infection Control (07/01/2014) Vol. 42, No. 7, P. 758 Verani, Marco; Bigazzi, Roberto; Carducci, Annalaura

The airborne spreading of enteric viruses can occur through the aerosol and droplets produced by toilet flushing. The environmental monitoring of air and selected surfaces was carried out in two toilets of an office building and in three toilets of a hospital before and after cleaning operations. The goal was to identify the presence of norovirus, enterovirus, rhinovirus, human rotavirus, and Torque teno virus and to quantify human adenovirus and bacteria counts. Viruses were detected on 78 percent of surfaces and in 81 percent of aerosol samples. Among the researched viruses, only human adenovirus and Torque teno virus were found in both surface and air samples. In several cases, the same adenovirus strain was found in all matrices. The data collected in the study confirm that toilets are an important source of viral contamination, mainly in health care settings, where disinfection can have a crucial role in preventing virus spread.
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