ASCA News Digest (October 21, 2014)

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October 21, 2014





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ASCA Highlights


New Ebola Information Center for ASCs

ASCA has created an Ebola Information Center with resources from the CDC, AAAASF, AORN, AMA and the White House. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, it is important for health care providers to be prepared for patients with Ebola. MORE
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The digital edition of the November/December issue of ASC Focus is now available. Read the latest issue for a national fraud and abuse compliance update, tips on how to protect your ASC from embezzlement, how to avoid common coding and billing mistakes and news about an Oregon ASC that offers free surgery to veterans. MORE
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Plan now to attend ASCA’s Medical Director Leadership Seminar, May 16-17, 2015, in Orlando. This premier seminar will address high-level aspects of issues surrounding ASC management, expectations and responsibilities. Participants will come together to examine current challenges and selected clinical concepts in ambulatory surgery. Join with ASC medical directors and physician leaders from across the country for this exclusive opportunity. MORE
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ASCA members who purchase the 2015 survey before January 1, 2015, can save 10% off the total price ($269 for the year). If you are a current subscriber, make sure to submit your data for Q3 of the 2014 survey before October 31. If you haven’t subscribed yet for 2014, sign up today to submit data for Q3 and Q4 and receive the national/specialty report for Q1 and Q2. MORE
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From mid-August through October 3, 2014, the CDC and state public health facilities have confirmed a total of 538 cases of respiratory illness caused by Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) in 43 states and the District of Columbia. APIC has put together a resource that details what EV-D68 is, how the virus is spread, who is at risk, what the treatments are and how you can protect yourself. MORE
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Get the final word on the changes to Medicare’s ASC payment system that will take effect January 1, 2015, during ASCA's next webinar, Tuesday, November 18, at 1:00 pm ET. Find out if new procedures were added to the final list of those eligible to be performed on Medicare patients in the ASC setting and gain an understanding of how CMS will implement payment penalties for centers that fail to successfully report on the ASC quality measures. MORE
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Hospira, Inc. announced the voluntary recall of certain lots of several products in its LifeCare line of flexible intravenous solutions due to the potential for leakage. Leakage may result in an open system, which has the potential for contamination, compromised sterility, drug waste, spillage, inadequate or inconsistent solution/medication dosing, and/or delay in therapy, all of which may require medical intervention. MORE
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If you attended ASCA's 2014 Fall Seminar in Scottsdale, you have until November 30, 2014, to submit your continuing education credits online. To submit online, you will need your ID number located on the back of your attendee badge. (If you no longer have your badge, you can request your ID number by sending an email to registration@ascassociation.org.) MORE
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US Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) addressed attendees of the New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (NJAASC) Annual Conference last Friday. Speaking during the general session, Sen. Booker shared his insights about how ASCs can and should be part of the solution to reducing costs in America’s health care delivery system. MORE
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Industry News


What to Expect When You Have Surgery
Wall Street Journal (10/12/14) Landro, Laura

Health care facilities are starting to use interactive programs and mobile apps to inform patients about their surgeries and to help protect against possible legal action if things go wrong. For example, the American College of Surgeons offers a video-based tutorial to help ostomy patients manage their condition, and another video guide helps patients prepare for recovery from a lung procedure. The college also sponsors the Strong for Surgery program in Washington State, which focuses on the preoperative period and uses checklists for initial consultations between doctors and patients. A review published in the American Journal of Surgery in 2009 found that many patients lack adequate understanding of the informed-consent process before their decision to have surgery. Patients may consider themselves well-informed when that is not the case, and some patients may be embarrassed to ask questions.
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Fifth-Annual Community Surgery Day Gives Free Surgeries 14 Patients
Summit Daily News (CO) (10/15/14) Langley, Alli

In Colorado, Summit County's fifth-annual Community Surgery Day provided 14 people with free elective outpatient surgery. The event, held on October 11, involved 13 physicians and 60 volunteers at Peak One Surgery Center in Frisco. Procedures performed included orthopedic, general, gynecological, pain management, and gastroenterological surgeries. The event was conceived by Dr. Peter Janes of Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, who realized that many people were "slipping through the cracks," and it has since expanded to include the counties of Eagle, Lake, and Park. Most of the patients were in their 20s and 30s and lack health insurance.
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Helping Hospitals Fight the Battle Against Alarm Fatigue
Forbes (10/14/14) Szczerba, Robert J.

Alarm fatigue is a leading health technology hazard of the modern medical workplace, according to the Emergency Care Research Institute. In addition, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses notes that while "studies show it is difficult for humans to differentiate among more than six different alarm sounds, the average number of alarms in an ICU has increased from six in 1983 to more than 40 different alarms in 2011." A report from Johns Hopkins' Maria Cvach outlines strategies for reducing alarm fatigue, including using smart alarms, standardizing alarm sounds for easier identification by staff, and adding troubleshooting animation to monitoring equipment. Hospitals should perform alarm risk evaluation via an interdisciplinary alarm management committee, which can address staff workloads, assess alarm response times, provide staff training about alarms, and offer alternative methods for delivering alarm signals.
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The ABCs of Bundled and Packaged Payments
Pharmacy Practice News (10/14) Kirschenbaum, Bonnie

Insurers are testing a variety of payment initiatives in cooperation with providers in an effort to curb costs and enhance quality. These initiatives include bundled payments, consolidated payments, payments for episode of care, and incremental payments. These models are all intended to take the place of conventional fee-for-service payments, which are reimbursed on a line-item basis. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services describes its approach to these new payments as "packaged services in composite APCs" (Ambulatory Patient Classifications). The underlying principle is that a fixed inclusive payment is provided for a defined treatment, procedure, or condition, and amounts are determined by cumulative historical payments extracted from claims data and best practice from other sources.
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Governor Vetoes Surgical-Tech Standards Bill
Sacramento Business Journal (10/01/14) Robertson, Kathy

California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill seeking to set minimum standards for the state's 9,000 surgical technologists. State Sen. Roger Hernandez introduced the bill to address a gap in regulation. Surgical technologists are currently the only members of operating rooms' surgical team with no required minimum level of education, training, or certification. Some surgical technicians go through a certification process, but many do not, according to the California State Council of Service Employees International Union, sponsor of Assembly Bill 2062. The measure called for requiring health facilities in the state to hire only surgical technologists with specific training and certification, with certain exceptions. The bill would have grandfathered existing surgical techs while giving new graduates up to a year to obtain certification.
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ISPE Releases Its Drug Shortages Prevention Plan
PharmTech.com (10/15/14)

The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) has unveiled its Drug Shortages Prevention Plan, based on ISPE's 2013 ISPE Drug Shortages Survey. The plan was developed collectively by U.S. and European industry experts and regulatory agencies. ISPE's plan calls for companies to probe underlying causes for drug shortages and create a quality culture to ensure a reliable supply of drugs. To identify these causes, the plan outlines steps related to technical, quality systems, and management areas. The plan also discusses quality metrics in relation to supply-chain practices and how industry can cooperate with regulators to ensure a stable supply of medicines.
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Huge Registry Shows Anesthesia Complication Rates Dropped by More Than Half in Four Years
Newswise (10/12/14)

New research presented at the Anesthesiology 2014 annual meeting shows that complications related to anesthesia dropped by more than 50 percent in four years. Data from the Anesthesia Quality Institute's National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry reveal that the percentage of anesthesia-related adverse events fell from 11.8 percent in 2010 to 4.8 percent of procedures in 2013. Postoperative nausea and vomiting were the most common minor complications, while medication error was the most common major complication. The researchers, who looked at 3.2 million anesthesia cases, also found that the overall mortality rate held steady during the study period; procedures performed during evening hours and holidays did not have higher complication rates; and patients over age 50 had the highest rates of serious complications.
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