ASCA News Digest (September 23, 2014)

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September 23, 2014





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ASCA Highlights


Registration Now Open for ASCA's 2015 Winter Coding Seminar

Ensure that your ASC is prepared for 2015’s coding and billing changes by registering for ASCA’s 2015 Winter Coding Seminar, January 22-24, in San Diego. This comprehensive program is a "must" when it comes to learning best coding practices that assure you receive the reimbursements you deserve. Sessions will cover coding tips for commonly performed ASC procedures, assessing coding accuracy and productivity, CPT changes that will take effect in 2015, ICD-10 and more. MORE
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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.

ASCA is currently recruiting ASCs to participate in the 4th cohort of a national patient safety improvement program being led by the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) and other partners, including ASCA and the ASC Quality Collaboration. This 12-month program is designed to improve communication, teamwork and quality in outpatient surgery facilities. MORE
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The data collection period for the third quarter (Q3) of the 2014 ASCA Benchmarking Program will open on Wednesday, October 1. Subscribers will receive an email alerting them when they can begin to submit data. The collection period will close October 31. If you haven’t purchased your 2014 subscription yet, there is still time to sign up. 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.

Need more continuing education hours before the end of the year? There is still time to sign up for ASCA's 2014 Fall Seminar, October 9-11, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Register for one, two or all three days of the seminar and take advantage of in-depth educational sessions on key topics that drive development and daily operations at your ASC. Earn up to 15.25 nursing contact hours and up to 15.25 AEUs. MORE
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Many ASCs decide at inception to go out of network because of the higher reimbursement rates often paid to out-of-network facilities. While the facility may be out of network, its physician owner is almost always in-network. This business model can work well for an ASC as long as it is getting paid. Needless to say, the model works less well when payers refuse to pay or underpay the ASC’s claims. MORE
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The ASCA Pain Management Steering Committee has released a video highlighting the advantages of practicing pain management in an ASC. This is a part of a multimedia campaign to increase awareness about the safety and quality of care in ASCs. MORE
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Data collection for ASC-8: Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel will be reported in 2015 for Medicare’s ASC Quality Reporting Program through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). To report ASC-8 through NHSN as required, 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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ASCA submitted a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner last week requesting that CMS more fully utilize the mechanisms in place to promote the development of innovative medical advancements for the ASC setting. MORE
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Industry News


CMS to Host National ICD-10 Provider Call
Health Data Management (09/14) Goedert, Joseph

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is hosting on Nov. 5 a National Provider Call to address various issues with ICD-10 implementation. During the call, CMS is set to discuss topics including the final rule setting an Oct. 1, 2015 compliance date, Medicare fee-for-service testing, the Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Grouper conversion project, a partial code freeze and annual code updates, and plans for National Coverage Determinations and Local Coverage Determinations. The 90-minute call is open to all clinicians and supporting staff, vendors, educators, and laboratories.
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How Much Does That X-Ray Cost? You Can Find Out in New Hampshire
Kaiser Health News (09/18/14) Appleby, Julie

New Hampshire is one of 14 states that require insurers to report the rates they pay different health care providers. In addition, the state is one of only a few to disclose those rates to consumers. New Hampshire's HealthCost Web site, launched in 2007, displays median prices paid by insurers for 40 procedures, such as outpatient knee surgery. The prices shown come from every hospital in the state in addition to many freestanding surgical facilities and imaging centers. Users can see the potential cost to patients based on their plan deductible. But experts say price information alone does not change consumer behavior, and that changes typically take place when insurers or employers create financial disincentives for consumers choosing higher-priced providers.
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New North Valley Surgery Center Is Arizona's Largest Outpatient Facility
PRWeb (09/15/14)

In Scottsdale, Ariz., the new North Valley Surgery Center, the largest surgery center in the state, opened to patients on Sept. 15. The facility features seven operating rooms, four gastrointestinal procedure rooms, and a pain management procedure room in 34,000 square feet. Nearly 70 physicians and 80 to 120 anesthesiologists and affiliated health professionals are expected to provide care at the facility, with 60 to 75 full-time employees. The new center is expected to perform nearly 1,000 cases per month, or about 12,000 procedures annually.
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Gynecologists Resist FDA Over Popular Surgical Tool
Wall Street Journal (09/21/14) P. A1 Levitz, Jennifer; Kamp, Jon

Months after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned about the risk of spreading undetected cancer with laparascopic power morcellators, the gynecological tool is still being used across the country. Johnson & Johnson pulled the product from the market after the FDA warning, and many hospitals put moratoriums on the device, which is often used in minimally invasive hysterectomies. However, morcellators are still being used to remove fibroids in some cases, with those doctors saying the risks have been overstated. The FDA said in April that at least 50,000 fibroid surgeries were being performed every year, and that an estimated 1 in 350 women undergoing fibroid surgery have an undetected cancer the morcellator could spread. Some facilities that have stopped using morcellators say they are performing more vaginal hysterectomies and "mini-laparotomies."
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Big Increase in Surgeon Training for Da Vinci Colorectal Surgery
EndoNurse (09/17/14)

The fourth annual Colorectal Fellowship Training Program hosted 88 residents this year, up from nine when the program was first offered in 2011. Sponsored by Intuitive Surgical, the event took place in Sunnyvale, Calif.; Atlanta; Celebration, Fla.; and Houston. The 88 residents attended lectures given by experienced da Vinci surgeons and obtained training on techniques for the surgical management of rectal cancer and colon diseases. The event marks the first time the program was conducted in collaboration with the Association of Program Directors for Colon and Rectal Surgery. "Advanced technology training, specifically in minimally invasive surgery, is a significant educational advancement for the next generation of colorectal surgeons," said Charles Whitlow with the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.
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Premier Health Buys Middletown Surgery Center
Journal-News.com (Ohio) (09/18/14) Levingston, Chelsey

Atrium Medical Center has purchased an outpatient surgery center in Middletown, Ohio, in a deal that closed Sept. 16. Atrium Medical Center reportedly paid $2 million to acquire the property of Southwest Ohio Surgery Center. "It will still operate with the same physicians and staff that the patients have come to know and appreciate," says Atrium spokeswoman Sharon Howard. The facility is the city's largest outpatient surgery center. Atrium also recently broke ground on construction for a new standalone emergency center in Mason, Ohio.
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St. Vincent's Plans $15M Expansion for One Nineteen Campus
Birmingham Business Journal (Alabama) (09/16/14) Alexander, Alan

St. Vincent's Health System is planning a $15.6 million, 40,000-square-foot expansion of its One Nineteen site in Birmingham, Ala., that will feature an ambulatory surgery center, an urgent care center, and additional office space. The project is anticipated to begin this fall and be completed in early 2015. "When we built our St. Vincent's One Nineteen facility almost 10 years ago, we were dedicated to creating person-centered, quality care through the first health and wellness center of its kind in our community. The latest expansion builds on this unwavering mission to deliver the right care, at the right time, in the best way possible," said St. Vincent's Health System CEO John O'Neil.
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Survey of 20,000 U.S. Physicians Shows 80 Percent of Doctors Are Over-Extended or at Full Capacity
The Physicians Foundation (09/16/2014)

A new survey of more than 20,000 physicians nationwide reveals that 81 percent feel they are either over-extended or at full capacity. The survey, commissioned by The Physicians Foundation, found that 35 percent of physicians described themselves as independent practice owners, down from 49 percent in 2012 and 62 percent in 2008. The average age of the respondents was 50, compared to 54 in 2012, and 33 percent of the survey respondents were female, up from 26 percent in 2012. Approximately 35 percent of physicians described themselves as independent practice owners, down from 49 percent in 2012 and 62 percent in 2008. In addition, half of the respondents said that migrating to ICD-10 will cause "severe administrative problems" for their practices. Forty-four percent of the physicians said they want to curb their services by cutting back on patients seen, retiring, working part-time, closing their practice to new patients, or seeking non-clinical jobs.
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Health Care Act Still Covers 7.3 Million
New York Times (09/19/14) P. A17 Pear, Robert

A total of 7.3 million Americans who purchased private health insurance under Obamacare have paid their premiums and were still enrolled, according to Marilyn B. Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at the Sept. 18 hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. When asked why the reported enrollment had dropped by 700,000 people, or about 9 percent, since President Barack Obama's April estimate of 8 million people signing up for coverage, Tavenner said people potentially switched to employer-sponsored insurance, discovered they were eligible for Medicaid, or failed to pay. She added that most consumers who obtained private insurance coverage via the marketplace are paying $100 or less per month, while 46 percent of individuals selecting plans with tax credits in the federally facilitated marketplace obtained coverage for $50 per month or less.
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Obama Orders Plan Against Antibiotic Resistance
Wall Street Journal (09/19/14) P. A5 Tracy, Tennille; Burton, Thomas M.

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released a report that reiterates the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it recommends that the government spend $900 million to track and research antibiotic resistance and to promote the appropriate use of existing drugs, among other initiatives. The report also recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services develop rules by 2017 that require hospitals and nursing homes to implement best practices for antibiotic use. In conjunction with the report, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to create a task force that would examine the issue and submit a detailed plan by February 2015 to implement a national strategy to preserve the effectiveness of infection-fighting drugs. The order calls for specific steps to prevent the spread of the drug-resistant bacteria and to accelerate the research and development of new antibiotics by 2020.
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GAO Says Healthcare.gov Needs Security Upgrades
Medical Economics (09/18/14) Smith, Lisa

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is planning to conduct an audit of Healthcare.gov to identify any security vulnerabilities that may still exist following a hack of the site earlier this summer, agency chief Marilyn Tavenner said Sept. 18. Tavenner's announcement came several days after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that found security for Healthcare.gov, including the enrollment or Marketplace system and the Federal Data Services Hub that connects the Marketplace system to other government systems, is insufficient. The report noted that while the security of Healthcare.gov has improved since it was launched last fall, the security plans and privacy documentation for the site remain incomplete. GAO made several recommendations for improving the security of Healthcare.gov, including performing a thorough security assessment of the Marketplace system and ensuring that security plans for both the Marketplace system and data hub meet the National Institute of Standards and Technology's recommendations.
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New Affordable Care Act Tools and Payment Models Deliver $372 Million in Savings, Improve Care
HHS News Release (09/16/14)

Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in the Pioneer ACO Model and Medicare Shared Savings Program have generated more than $372 million in total program savings for Medicare ACOs, thereby improving patient care and producing hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for the program, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Specifically, the data comes from preliminary quality and financial results from the second year of performance for 23 Pioneer ACOs, along with final results from the first year of performance for 220 Shared Savings Program ACOs. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 360 Medicare ACOs have been established in 47 states that serving more than 5.6 million Americans with Medicare.
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Antibiotic Stewardship Programs Reduce Costs, Improve Outcomes
Medical Xpress (09/06/14)

Research presented at the American Society for Microbiology's 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy reveals that antibiotic stewardship programs that promote the appropriate use of antibiotics in hospitals and other care settings generate significant cost savings by reducing antibiotic use and adverse events. Researchers at the 535-bed New York Hospital Queens looked at the more than 5,000 interventions made by the hospital-wide antibiotic stewardship program in 2013, with at least 50 percent of those interventions improving patient safety and resulting in more than $600,000 in savings. Rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea decreased as a result of the program.
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