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ASCA News Digest (December 1, 2015)

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December 2, 2015

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  • What does the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 mean for your ASC? Understand the implications with this Q&A with Heather Ashby of ASCA.
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ASCA Highlights


Winter Coding Seminar Early Registration Deadline Extended

ASCA has extended its early registration deadline for the 2016 Winter Coding Seminar, January 14–16, 2016, in Scottsdale, Arizona by one week.

Members and non-members who register between now and Monday, December 7, will receive $100 off their respective registration costs. ASCA members who register two or more attendees at once will receive an additional $100 off.
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ASCA Benchmarking subscribers can now access their clinical and operational benchmarking reports for the third quarter (Q3) of 2015 on the ASCA Benchmarking portal. These reports offer valuable data about ASCs that can be used to improve quality, boost performance and meet expectations of regulators, payers and patients.

Subscriptions for the 2015 survey are still available at a discount to ASCA members.
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Renew your ASCA membership through ASCA's new online portal using a credit card or check by December 31 to receive 10 percent off an ASCA Benchmarking subscription.

If you have questions concerning membership renewal, contact Renee Harris-Etheridge at 703.636.0609 or rharris@ascassociation.org.
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Sign up for ASCA 2016, taking place Thursday to Sunday, May 19–22, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. You can learn more about the meeting and register on the ASCA 2016 website.

ASCA 2016 will feature more than 60 educational sessions to help you strategically position your ASC for success and multiple opportunities to network and exchange best practices with other ASC professionals from around the country.

ASCA members receive a discounted rate and can save even more by registering multiple attendees at the same time.
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ASCA’s 2016 Capitol Fly-In will take place June 13–14 at the Marriott Marquis, and September 12–13 at the Washington Court. This is an opportunity for ASCA members to meet face-to-face with their legislators to discuss issues affecting their centers. Registration opens in January.
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ASCA offers a collection of 21 courses, designed specifically for ASCs, to help train ASC staff on the latest regulations and standards of care. Sixteen of the interactive courses provide continuing education (CE) credit.
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Resources to assist ASC operators in determining the impact of Medicare’s 2016 payment changes are now available on ASCA’s web site. These resources include ASCA’s Medicare Rate Calculator, information regarding changes to payment rates between the 2015 final and 2016 proposed rules, payment indicators for each code and more.
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Industry News


Patients Want to Price-Shop for Care, But Online Tools Unreliable
Kaiser Health News (11/30/15) Gordon, Elana

Kate and Scott Savett were trying to be responsible when they needed some medical care. They live about an hour north of Philadelphia with their dog, Frankie.
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CMS Approves Outpatient Ambulatory Patient Experience Survey
RevCycle Intelligence (11/30/15) DiChiara, Jacqueline

How can you best measure patient experience? Perhaps with a 37-question survey.
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Surgical Monitoring Firms Receiving Scrutiny for Doctor Deals
Austin American-Statesman (11/29/15) Roser, Mary Ann

Some companies that insert needles to monitor a patient's nervous system during a delicate operation are setting up complex business deals with surgeons, raising concerns about sky-high bills and potential overuse of the monitoring. The lead lawyer for Aetna, the third-largest health insurance company in Texas, said he is concerned about the moneymaking arrangements, along with their potential to drive up health coverage costs for those with commercial insurance.
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End Of Medicare Bonuses Will Cut Pay to Primary Care Doctors
NPR Online (11/28/15) Andrews, Michelle

Many primary care practitioners will be a little poorer next year because of the expiration of a health law program that has been paying them a 10 percent bonus for caring for Medicare patients. Some say the loss may trickle down to the patients, who could have a harder time finding a doctor or have to wait longer for appointments.
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Mayo Lobbies U.S. Panel to Accept Noninvasive Colon Cancer Test
Minneapolis Star Tribune (11/28/15) Spencer, Jim

Ron Cox's doctor recommended a check for colon cancer when he turned 50. He did not get one.
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Surgery Center Tax Jeopardizes Patients' Options
Norwich Bulletin (11/26/15) Rouse, Stephen

While the focus in the budget debate has centered largely on hospitals, Connecticut's ambulatory surgery centers have been burdened with additional taxes as well. During the last legislative session, lawmakers imposed a 6 percent gross receipts tax on surgery centers, without vetting the issue or understanding its impact on a critical segment of the health care system.
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Postoperative Clostridium Difficile Infection in the Veterans Health Administration
EurekAlert (11/25/15)

The overall postoperative rate of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), a bacterium that can cause severe diarrhea and life-threatening intestinal conditions, was 0.4 percent per year among more than 468,386 surgical procedures at the Veterans Health Administration, according to a study published online by JAMA Surgery. CDI can be a significant complication for surgical patients.
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Top Obamacare Official Makes Tweaks as Insurer Complaints Grow
Bloomberg (11/24/15) Tracer, Zachary; Winkler, Matthew

To reduce turbulence in Obamacare's fledgling insurance markets, the Obama administration's top health official is pushing to get more information to consumers about what they'll actually pay for health care, which can include out-of-pocket costs as well as premiums. The changes are meant to help people choose coverage that fits their needs when up-front premiums and out-of-pocket costs are added together, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said during an interview at Bloomberg News's Washington bureau.
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CareCloud: 6 Recent Trends Impacting Physician Practice Profitability
HIT Consultant (11/17/15)

CareCloud, a provider of cloud-based software and services for medical groups, has announced the results of its annual Practice Profitability Index (PPI), one of the largest national efforts to study the operational health and profitability outlooks of U.S. medical practices. Leading the findings in the 2015 study is a mild upswing in projections for profitability among the more than 5,000 physicians surveyed.
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Certificate of Need, Other Health Issues Emerge Again
Health News Florida (11/16/2015)

A House committee next week will start renewing attempts to pass three closely watched health-care bills, including a proposal that would eliminate the "certificate of need" process for hospitals. The longstanding regulatory process, in part, requires state approval of new or expanded hospitals.
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New Test Determines If Surgeon Is Too Old to Operate
CBS Baltimore (11/19/15) DeMetrick, Alex

At the age many people retire, there are thousands of surgeons still operating on patients. Alex DeMetrick reports that's prompted a Sinai doctor to come up with an age ability test.
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