ASCA News Digest (October 7, 2014)

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October 7, 2014





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ASCA Highlights


Are You Prepared for the 2015 ASC Quality Reporting Requirements?

Medicare-certified ASCs will be required to report 10 quality measures in 2015 for Medicare's ASC Quality Reporting Program. To help ASCs comply and avoid payment penalties down the line, ASCA has developed a free quality reporting resource that identifies the deadlines and reporting mechanisms associated with all 10 quality measures that ASCs will need to report next year. MORE
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To respond to reporters’ inquiries, ASCA is seeking current information about what percentage of the physicians who work in ASCs are owners and what percentage are not. Please help by completing a quick, four-question online survey. Thanks for your support. MORE
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Renewal notices have been mailed to current ASCA members and the 2015 Membership Application is now available online for nonmembers. Whether you're considering joining ASCA or renewing your existing membership, listen to what some current members have to say about the many benefits of being an ASCA member. MORE
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Flu season officially started October 1, 2014. ASCs will be required to collect data on ASC-8: Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel now through March 31, 2015, as part of Medicare’s ASC Quality Reporting Program. To report ASC-8, someone from your ASC must register with NHSN. This registration process can take several weeks, so ASCs are advised to register immediately. MORE
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The 2015 ASCA Capitol Fly-Ins will take place June 16–17 and September 29–30 (the September dates have changed since previously announced). “Flying-in” to DC allows you to directly lobby your members of Congress and provides a unified voice with tangible results for the ASC community—more than 90 members of Congress cosponsored important ASC legislation since this year’s fly-ins. MORE
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The data collection period for the third quarter (Q3) of the 2014 ASCA Benchmarking Program is now open. The collection period will close October 31. If you haven’t purchased your 2014 subscription yet, there is still time to sign up. Even though you are subscribing during Q3, you will still receive the national/specialty report for Q1 and Q2. MORE
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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for family and medical reasons without losing group health insurance coverage. Learn a few pointers on abiding by the FMLA effectively in the ASC setting. MORE
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CMS will host a 90-minute National Provider Call on Wednesday, November 5, to discuss upcoming ICD-10 implementation issues. The agenda includes information on the final rule and October 1, 2015, implementation date, Medicare fee-for-service testing, the Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Grouper conversion project, a partial code freeze, annual code updates and more. MORE
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CMS announced last week that the agency will permit a categorical waiver to allow for the use of power strips in existing and new health care facility patient care areas. This waiver will be allowed only if the facility is in compliance with all applicable power strip requirements in the 2012 edition of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code (LSC) power strip requirements and with all other 2000 LSC electrical system and equipment provisions. MORE
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Industry News


Open Payments Data Release Has Big Gaps
Medscape (09/30/14) Lowes, Robert

The federal government's Open Payments website has published information on about $3.5 billion worth of payments from drug and device makers to 1,360 teaching hospitals and 546,000 clinicians in the last five months of 2013. But about 40 percent of the payments that drug and device makers had to report to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) had no recipient name attached, due to errant payment reports that made the actual recipient unclear, or because physicians and hospitals did not have a chance to review the reports. CMS intends to disclose the recipients once the companies correct mistakes and the physicians and hospitals in question can double-check the information. The American Medical Association has complained, however, that the website's online registration process is too difficult, preventing physicians from challenging data inaccuracies that could harm their reputations.
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New Reaction to High Healthcare Costs: Consumer Anger
Fierce HealthFinance (09/29/14) Shinkman, Ron

Americans are becoming frustrated over increased health care costs, with 11 percent saying that they have trouble paying medical bills. A Consumer Reports survey of 1,100 Americans found that 12 percent spent more than $5,000 of their own money on medical bills in the past year. Consumer Reports noted that the U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world and often fails to provide quality for the price. More Americans are angry at how health care is delivered, such as a doctor ordering an MRI when he owns the machine, and that the care is delivered in a piecework way that increases prices. According to Consumer Reports, some insurers now reveal the prices they negotiated with providers, and costs could be reduced with practices such as reference pricing.
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Surgery Facility Posts Prices Online
KOKH Fox 25 (09/29/14) George, Tom

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma posts the prices of all 190 types of operations performed there online. According to Dr. Keith Smith, knowing the prices will help both uninsured people, so they are not surprised by large bills for procedures they cannot afford, and people with insurance, who have seen prices increasing. Some of the surgeries at the Oklahoma City facility cost just a tenth of what some hospitals might charge, Smith said, noting that he expects to see increasing use of fixed prices in health care in the future.
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5 Quick Tips for ICD-10 Compliance
Healthcare Finance News (10/02/14) Vatalaro, Ron

With the deadline for ICD-10 implementation just a year away, there are several steps health care organizations can take to prepare. These include appointing a manager, so there is a single point person to oversee the transition; engaging non-IT leaders and staff, as most departments will be affected; and evaluating technological needs as soon as possible. Other steps that can help ease the Oct. 1, 2015 transition include creating an implementation calendar and dual-coding cases using both ICD-9 and ICD-10.
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The Future of Surgery: Less Cutting, More Robots
The Atlantic (10/02/14) Laskow, Sarah

Technology has helped to change the face of surgery significantly over the years. Minimally invasive procedures have become routine, and a robot has even been developed to perform some procedures while a surgeon guides it from across the room. As surgeons work to make the procedures even less visible, minimizing the number of incisions needed, researchers are looking to robotics for future innovations. Surgeons at Columbia are developing a tiny robotic arm that can enter a 15-millimeter incision, while NASA is designing a robot that can enter the abdominal cavity for simple surgeries via the belly button.
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Debt Collection Becoming More Necessary for Physicians
HealthLeaders Media (10/03/14) Freeman, Greg

Debt collection is becoming an increasingly important issue for physicians' practices as patients face higher out-of-pocket costs for health care and as managed care companies increasingly look for ways to deny claims. Health care industry organizations and experts say there are several guidelines practices can follow to ensure they are paid they money they are owed. The Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Association for Credit and Collection Professionals, for example, worked with health care providers and others to develop a set of best practices for medical debt collection that includes a recommendation for practices to educate patients about payments and debt collection as soon as possible. Experts also say practices that outsource their debt collection activities should ensure that vendors follow industry best practices.
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Best States to Practice 2014
Physicians Practice (09/24/14) Sprey, Erica

Yearly rankings by Physicians Practice on the "Best States to Practice" placed Mississippi at the top in 2014, followed by Alabama, Texas, and Nevada. The rankings were based on such factors as cost of living, disciplinary actions taken against physicians, tax burden per capita, Medicare's Geographic Practice Cost Index, physician density, and malpractice award payouts per capita. Mississippi has a low physician density, which generates greater demand for their skills. The state also had the lowest cost of living and tax burden, along with very low malpractice payouts.
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