ASCA News Digest (December 8, 2015)

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December 8, 2015

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ASCA Highlights

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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


Time Running Out to Register for ASCA’s 2016 Winter Coding Seminar

ASCA’s Winter Coding Seminar takes place next month, January 14–16, in Scottsdale, Arizona. ASC professionals who have not already registered are encouraged to do so this month. This comprehensive program will cover coding tips for commonly performed ASC procedures, assessing coding accuracy and productivity, CPT changes that will take effect in 2016, ICD-10 issues, best practices and more. Attendees will be awarded up to 17.75 units of AEU credit from BASC.
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Renew your ASCA membership through the 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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ASCA is launching a new social media campaign this week centered on recent Gallup Poll data showing that 42 percent of Americans name cost or access as their most urgent health problem. The goal of ASCA’s new campaign is to raise awareness of the value ASCs provide to Medicare, its beneficiaries and the broader community by highlighting the high-quality, cost-efficient care ASCs provide to the community.

Help promote this campaign by liking and following ASCA on Facebook and Twitter, and sharing ASCA’s messages from the campaign.
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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 online at a discount to ASCA members.
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Sign up for ASCA 2016, 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 web site.

ASCA 2016 will feature sessions on how to prepare for a violent event in your ASC, reimbursement concerns that can seriously compromise your bottom line, managing cell phone use inside your ASC, how to comply with the newest sterilization standards, the hidden threats of drug diversion and more.

ASCA members receive a discounted rate and can save even more by registering multiple attendees at the same time.
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ASCA is encouraging its members to nominate qualified candidates to serve on its board of directors. To nominate someone, you must be an ASCA member and complete the Call for Nominations Online Form (or download the PDF form) and return it by January 12, 2016. Visit the ASCA web site for more details.
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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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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released supplemental documents to the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Specifications Manual versions 4.0a (January 1 – September 30, 2015) and 4.1 (October 1 – December 31, 2015). The supplemental documents notify facilities that the codes for which they are required to collect volume data in 2015 and then report it in 2016 have been updated. ASCA has updated its online resources to reflect the most recent versions of the Specifications Manual.
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Industry News


CMS Releases 2014 National Health Expenditures
CMS Press Release (12/02/15)

In 2014, per-capita health care spending grew by 4.5 percent and overall health spending grew by 5.3 percent, a study by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published today as a Web First by Health Affairs. Those rates are below most years prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act.
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U.S. Senate Passes Symbolic Obamacare Repeal, Assuring Veto
Reuters (12/04/15) Lawder, David

After five years of failed attempts, U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday passed a symbolic partisan bill to gut President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law, but the effort has already been condemned to death by Obama's plans to veto it. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to repeal several core Obamacare provisions under special budget procedural rules that allow for passage with a simple majority.
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National Patient Safety Efforts Save 87,000 Lives and Nearly $20 Billion in Costs
HHS News Release (12/01/15)

A report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today shows that thanks in part to provisions of the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 87,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and nearly $20 billion in health care costs were saved as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2014. Preliminary estimates show that, in total, hospital patients experienced 2.1 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2014, a 17 percent decline over that period.
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Plastic Surgeons, Fearing Violence, Turn to Psychiatry to Screen Patients
STAT News (12/04/15) Dolgin, Elie

The operation went off without a hitch. Another successful nose job--or so Dr. Ira Papel thought.
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Texas Ranks Near the Top in U.S. Physician Recruitment
PR Newswire (12/02/15)

Texas is among the nation's leaders in attracting physicians to practice here. A new report finds the Lone Star State ranked second nationally in attracting the most physicians and fifth in percentage growth among physicians who treat patients.
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Jobs for Medical Scribes Are Rising Rapidly But Standards Lag
Kaiser Health News (12/07/15) Gillespie, Lisa

A national campaign for electronic health records is driving business for at least 20 companies with thousands of workers ready to help stressed doctors log the details of their patients' care--for a price. Nearly 1 in 5 physicians now employ medical scribes, many provided by a vendor, who join doctors and patients in examination rooms.
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Anthem, Cigna Shareholders Approve $48 B Tie-Up
Associated Press (12/03/15)

A $48-billion deal that would create the nation's largest health insurer inched closer to completion after shareholders of both Anthem and Cigna voted in favor of a buyout. The companies said that nearly all of their shareholders approved the deal, announced last July, when Blue Cross-Blue Shield coverage provider Anthem said it would pay $103.40 and a portion of its stock for each Cigna share.
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Group Health Acquisition by Kaiser Draws Worry and Praise
Seattle Times (12/05/15) Aleccia, JoNel

Reaction was swift--and mixed--Friday after the announcement that Seattle's homegrown medical cooperative, Group Health, may be acquired by the California behemoth Kaiser Permanente. Callers buzzed phone lines at Group Health's administrative offices as well as the satellite centers throughout Washington and Northern Idaho, officials said.
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Demand Grows for Printed Presurgical 3D Models
Medscape (12/04/15) Frellick, Marcia

Presurgical three-dimensional printed models are among the fastest-growing opportunities for radiologists, said experts speaking here at the Radiological Society of North America 2015 Annual Meeting. "Not only are they good for the surgeons, they have a major impact on patient education," said Gerald Grant, DMD, from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, whose expertise lies in dentistry, medical technology, and prosthodontics.
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