ASCA News Digest (April 14, 2015)

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April 14, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


CMS Updates Interpretive Guidelines

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated the State Operations Manual, Appendix L: Guidance for Surveyors – Ambulatory Surgical Centers (commonly referred to as the “Interpretive Guidelines”) to reflect changes that were previously announced in a January 30 surveyor memo. MORE
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CMS has posted an addendum to the ASC Quality Reporting Specifications Manual, Version 4.0a includes revisions to ASC-7, updating the surgical procedural codes for which ASCs must collect data in 2015 and report in 2016. ASCs must report their total surgical care volume for selected groups of procedures. MORE
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On April 1, 2015, the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) was updated using the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) methodology as required by current law. The SGR methodology required a 21% decrease in all MPFS payments beginning April 1, 2015. CMS took steps to limit the impact on Medicare providers and beneficiaries by holding claims paid under the MPFS with dates of service on and after April 1, 2015. MORE
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As the regulatory and accreditation standards your ASC needs to meet continue to multiply and grow increasingly complex, achieving and maintaining compliance presents ever-expanding challenges. Get strategies that can help your ASC achieve and sustain compliance and continuous improvement in the quality of the overall patient care your ASC provides during ASCA’s next webinar, April 21 at 1:00pm ET. MORE
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Regular runners and first-timers alike are welcome to participate in ASCA’s 5K Fun Run/Walk, sponsored by SourceMedical. The race will take place Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. in front of Hawk’s Landing Golf Club and will be a great way to get your body moving and energized for the rest of the day. MORE
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The data collection period for the first quarter (Q1) of the 2015 survey is now open. The collection period will close April 30. Start submitting your data today. If you haven’t purchased a subscription, there is still time to sign up. The 2015 survey features a completely revamped financial section. MORE
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ASCA staff met with representatives from the CMS Survey and Certification Group and Clinical Standards Group this week. ASCA requested this meeting to discuss recent changes to the State Operations Manual, Appendix L: Guidance for Surveyors – Ambulatory Surgical Centers (commonly referred to as the Interpretive Guidelines) and issues ASCA members are facing during surveys. MORE
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Industry News


More ICD-10 Anxiety: Third-Party Billers Say Neither Tech Nor Clients Are Ready
Modern Healthcare (04/10/15) Conn, Joseph

More warning signals are flashing on the health industry's readiness for the upcoming switch to ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes—this time from a key revenue-cycle-management sector. According to a recent survey by the Healthcare Billing & Management Association, a lack of preparedness by the billers' clients—predominately hospital- and office-based physicians—remains a significant barrier.
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Senate Wrangles Over Medicare-Payments Fix
Wall Street Journal (04/13/15) Hughes, Siobhan

Backers of legislation to set up a new system of Medicare payments to doctors and other providers are seeking to settle a flurry of last-minute skirmishes that threaten its quick passage in the Senate when Congress returns from a two-week recess Monday. The main concern is from conservatives who are frustrated that two-thirds of the measure’s $214 billion cost would be financed through higher deficits and are looking at ways to pay for the measure without resorting to borrowing.
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Healthcare Providers Prep for Dual Coding After ICD-10 Switch
Healthcare Finance News (04/09/15) Morse, Susan

Though ICD-10 will likely become the standard on Oct. 1, health care providers are planning on filing dual claims for some time after the changeover. For outpatients who receive care on both Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, the challenge will billing under both ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnostic coding vocabularies, according to providers who spoke Wednesday during an ICD-10 readiness session at MedAsset’s Healthcare Business Summit in Las Vegas.
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Medicare Is Stingy in First Year of Doctor Bonuses
Kaiser Health News (04/06/15) Rau, Jordan

Dr. Michael Kitchell initially welcomed the federal government’s new quality incentives for doctors. His medical group in Iowa has always scored better than most in the quality reports that Medicare has provided doctors in recent years, he said.
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CMS Finalizes 2016 Payment and Policy Updates for Medicare Health and Drug Plans
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (04/06/15)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today released final Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Prescription Drug program changes for 2016 that provide fair and accurate payments to plans, and encourage the delivery of high-quality care for all populations. "These policies strengthen Medicare Advantage for current and future consumers by encouraging higher quality care," said Andy Slavitt, acting CMS Administrator.
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Guidance for Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology Programs: Healthcare Epidemiologist Skills and Competencies
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (04/01/15) Vol. 36, No. 4, P. 369 Kaye, Keith S.; Anderson, Deverick J.; Cook, Evelyn; et al.

Since its inception in the 1960s, the specialty of infection prevention and control has grown considerably. The field took shape in the 1970s following the landmark Study on the Efficacy of Nosocomial Infection project and grew in importance with the emergence of employee safety and multidrug-resistant organisms in the 1980s.
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New Legislation Offers Floridians Increased Access to Same-Day Surgical Care in Safe, Community-Based Settings
PR Newswire (04/09/15)

The following is being released by Floridians for Better Community Care: Florida's House Health & Human Services Committee today hosted a workshop to examine the need for extended recovery time in Florida's 400 ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), which perform same-day surgical procedures and treat an estimated 1.5 million patients each year across the state. The legislation (HB 999) was introduced by Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (R-78) and passed the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee last week.
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When Surgeons Say 'We Can Fix It,' Patients May Misunderstand Risks
Reuters (04/09/15) Rapaport, Lisa

When surgeons prepare patients for an operation by describing how it can fix a problem, patients may agree to procedures without fully understanding the risks, a small study suggests. "As doctors, we really want to help patients to understand what is wrong with them and how to treat it, and that's really complicated, so the 'fix-it' model can simplify the issues for patients," senior study author Margaret Schwarze, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, said in an email.
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Healthcare Adds 22,000 Jobs in March as Hiring Slows
Healthcare Finance News (04/03/15) Powderly, Henry

Health care employers added 22,000 jobs in March, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday, just slightly less than the 24,000 added in February and much less than the 38,000 added in January, suggesting a slight slowdown in hiring in the sector. Health care has added a total of 363,000 jobs in the past year, the report said.
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Alarms, Health IT, and Patient Violence Lead ECRI Institute's 2015 List of Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns
ECRI Institute (04/06/2015)

Patient safety is a top priority for every health care organization, but knowing where to direct initiatives can be daunting. To help organizations decide where to focus their efforts, ECRI Institute has compiled its second annual list of the Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations.
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