ASCA News Digest (December 9, 2014)

News Digest













Banner


Home Membership Education & Events Federal Regulations Advocacy Resources Banner
December 9, 2014





Headlines


ASCA Highlights

Industry News


 

ASCA Highlights


Time Running Out to Register Early for the 2015 Coding Seminar

There are two weeks left to take advantage of early bird registration discounts for ASCA's 2015 Winter Coding Seminar, January 22-24 in San Diego. This two-and-a-half day conference is a "must" when it comes to learning best coding practices that assure you receive the reimbursements you deserve. Attendees will be awarded up to 19.5 CEU(s) from AAPC. MORE
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Read More | Return to Headlines

A disaster can hit anywhere, anytime, and many ASCs will face at least one emergency in their lifetime. Learn how to properly prepare to handle a disaster and not become overwhelmed during ASCA's next webinar, “When Disaster Strikes Your ASC: Preparedness, Response and Recovery,” next Tuesday, December 16, at 1pm ET. MORE
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Read More | Return to Headlines

New resources to assist ASC operators in determining the impact of Medicare’s 2015 payment changes have been added to ASCA’s web site, including newly device intensive codes for 2015, newly packaged codes for 2015 and newly added and deleted codes for 2015. In addition, ASCA’s Medicare Rate Calculator now features a better search functionality to show the national and local payment rates for 2015. MORE
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Read More | Return to Headlines

ASCA has partnered with HealthStream to offer a collection of 21 courses that apply specifically to ASCs and are designed to train ASC staff on the most current regulations and standards of care. 16 of the interactive courses provide continuing education (CE) credit. Reduced prices are available through January 31, 2015. MORE
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Read More | Return to Headlines

CMS finalized a significant change to its device-intensive policy, key ASC legislation reached a record number of supporters in Congress, attendees of ASCA's Capitol Fly-In Program lobbied more than 200 congressional offices, ASCAPAC hosted 10 events with members of Congress and the first State Leaders Conference took place in June. MORE
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Read More | Return to Headlines

Industry News


New Medicare Rules Aim to Reduce Abuse
Wall Street Journal (12/04/14) P. A6 Adamy, Janet

The Obama Administration issued new rules on Dec. 3 to give Medicare more authority to remove doctors, medical-equipment sellers, and other health-service providers from the federal program for abusive billing practices. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports $45.8 billion in improper payments during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, amounting to almost 13 percent of total spending. Medicare currently must perform numerous audits and claims reviews before revoking providers' billing privileges, but the new rules will allow it to kick providers out of the program if they demonstrate a pattern of inappropriate billing. Additionally, Medicare will be able to block providers with certain felony convictions from enrolling in the program and prevent providers and affiliates with existing debts to Medicare from re-enrolling in the program.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Full Article | Return to Headlines

Doctors Must Immediately Urge Congress to Permanently Repeal SGR
Pennsylvania Medical Society (12/02/14)

As Congress finalizes its remaining legislative matters for the year, physicians must urge lawmakers to stop enacting temporary patches for Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) physician payment formula, the Pennsylvania Medical Society is urging. Without congressional action, the SGR formula would lead to a 21 percent cut to physician payments upon expiration of the existing short-term patch on March 31, 2015, which is on top of the 2 percent sequestration cut that began in 2013. The proposed SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015/S. 2000) calls for permanently repealing the SGR formula, and the American Medical Association says lawmakers on both sides are optimistic that the bill could pass in the current lame duck session. "Congress needs to hear from physicians that the passage of H.R. 4015/S. 2000 before the end of the year is a top priority," the society writes. In addition, the society notes, Congress needs to be reminded that it has "unfinished business on repealing the SGR and designing a new Medicare physician payment system that rewards physicians for providing quality health care."
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Full Article | Return to Headlines

U.S. Website Tallies Medical Firms' Payments to Specific Doctors
Columbus Dispatch (12/07/14) Sutherly, Ben; Richards, Jennifer Smith

Consumers nationwide can now search for payments made to doctors and teaching hospitals in the form of royalties, licensing agreements, consulting fees, and expenses spanning the final five months of 2013. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Open Payments Web site will release in June 2015 a full year of such data, including 2014 payments and some 2013 records that are currently not identified. Tuft Medical School's Daniel Carlat, who writes and blogs about transparency in the health care industry, says of the $3.5 billion in payments disclosed nationwide, "the majority were payments that don't concern me in terms of conflicts of interest." He says the increased transparency is starting to have an effect, such as with 49 percent of medical schools now prohibiting their faculty members from giving promotional talks, compared to 4 percent in 2008.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Full Article | Return to Headlines

ASGE and ACG Issue Updated Quality Indicators for GI Endoscopic Procedures
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (12/02/2014)

A joint task force of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American College of Gastroenterology has revised quality indicators common to the four major endoscopic procedures: colonoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and endoscopic ultrasonography. The quality indicators are published online in GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, and will appear in the January 2015 print issues of both publications. The quality indicators are intended to ensure that patients receive an indicated procedure, accurate diagnoses, and properly performed therapy, all with minimum risk to the patient. For each endoscopic procedure, quality indicators were examined for the preprocedure, intraprocedure, and postprocedure stages.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Full Article | Return to Headlines

More Cost of Health Care Shifts to Consumers
Wall Street Journal (12/03/14) Armour, Stephanie

The Affordable Care Act is spurring consumers to use more of their funds to pay for medical care. Many private plans sold by the law’s health exchanges come with significant out-of-pocket costs. Silver plans, for instance, cover 70 percent of medical expenses and have an average deductible of $2,927 for individuals and $6,010 for families for 2015, according to HealthPocket. Physicians such as David Holte at Twin Cities Orthopedics in Waconia, Minn., say they are seeing a change in people's behavior as out-of-pocket costs rise. "Patients are shopping around more ... they're having cost discussions and putting off knee and hip replacements," he says. A November survey by Gallup found than one in three Americans says they or a family member delayed medical care because of costs in 2014.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Full Article | Return to Headlines

Officials Say Price Comparison Is Crucial to Choosing Health Plans
New York Times (12/05/14) P. A21 Pear, Robert

On Dec. 4, the Obama Administration announced that millions of people who obtained coverage through the federal exchange must switch plans in order to avoid premium hikes or subsidy reductions for next year. HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan says over 70 percent of customers can obtain lower prices by shopping around, and 80 percent could find coverage for under $100 per month after subsidies. However, of the approximately 6.7 million people who already had coverage through the exchanges, just 6 percent had renewed their coverage or switched plans for next year as of Nov. 28. If the remainder of those individuals fail to take action by Dec. 15, they will automatically be re-enrolled in the same plan or a similar plan.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Full Article | Return to Headlines

Health Law Impacts Primary Care Doc Shortage
Associated Press (12/07/14) Kennedy, Kelli

With 6.7 million people gaining health insurance this year under the Affordable Care Act, experts say the primary care system is having a hard time keeping up with demand. According to a recent survey by The Physicians Foundation, 81 percent of physicians say they are over-extended or at full capacity and 44 percent expect to reduce their patient load, retire, work part-time, or close their practices to new patients. Moreover, insurers continue to limit the number of doctors and providers in their networks to reduce costs, at the same time that close to 20 percent of Americans live in areas with a shortage of primary care physicians. The primary care physician shortage is expected to grow to 66,000 in just over 10 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, and patients already are forced to drive farther, wait longer, or see nurse practitioners or physician assistants instead of doctors.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Full Article | Return to Headlines

Efforts to Improve Patient Safety Result in 1.3 Million Fewer Patient Harms, 50,000 Lives Saved and $12 Billion in Health Spending Avoided
HHS News Release (12/02/14)

A reduction in hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2013 has resulted in approximately 50,000 fewer patients deaths in hospitals and $12 billion in health care cost savings, according to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Coordinated efforts by hospitals to reduce adverse events are due to such factors as Medicare payment incentives and the HHS Partnership for Patients initiative. Preliminary estimates show that hospital patients experienced 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2013, which translates into a 17 percent decline in hospital-acquired conditions over the period.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Full Article | Return to Headlines

OK for New Surgery Center--Walworth Co. Parcel Annexed for Burlington Project
Journal Times (Wis.) (12/05/14)

Aurora Health Care has received approval from the Burlington, Wis., city council to build a new outpatient surgery center. Aurora Health Care is planning to build a 160,000-square-foot facility that will offer outpatient surgery, enhanced cancer services, a dedicated women's imaging department, physical rehabilitation services, and laboratory and pharmacy services, according to Aurora's Lisa Just. "We look forward to breaking ground in the spring of 2015 and anticipate completing the project in 2016," Just says.
Share Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  | Full Article | Return to Headlines






Powered by Information, Inc.