ASCA News Digest (December 22, 2015)

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December 22, 2015

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ASCA Highlights


More Than 95 Percent of Medicare-Certified ASCs Meet Quality Reporting Requirements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last week that 95.9 percent of Medicare-certified ASCs met Medicare’s ASC Quality Reporting Program requirements for the second full year of the program and will receive the full annual payment update for calendar year (CY) 2016. To receive the full payment update, Medicare-certified facilities were required to collect and report data on 10 quality measures, including outcomes such as patient burns, patient falls, wrong site/side/patient/procedure/implant and hospital admissions or transfers.
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Renew your ASCA membership through the new online portal using a credit card or check by this Thursday, 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’s Winter Coding Seminar takes place next month, January 14–16, 2016, at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. ASC professionals who have not already registered are encouraged to do so before the end of December.

This comprehensive program promises to help position your ASC for success with more than 25 sessions covering everything from 2016 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) changes and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) updates to billing resources and best ASC business practices. Attendees will be awarded up to 17.75 units of AEU credit and up to 14 nursing contact hours.
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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’s Online Regulatory Training Series includes 21 courses, designed specifically for ASCs, to help train ASC staff on the latest regulations and standards of care. For less than $3.00 per continuing education (CE) credit, ASCs can ensure they are meeting training requirements in critical operational areas like medication management, infection prevention, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and domestic abuse assessment.
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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. Learn more about the meeting and register on the ASCA 2016 website.

ASCA 2016 offers a unique opportunity to network with thousands of ASC professionals from around the country. Attendees can exchange best practices and discuss marketplace trends that have immediate and long-term implications for their centers.

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 Chief Executive Officer William Prentice will speak at McDermott Will & Emery’s 14th annual ASC Symposium on February 26 in Miami, Florida.
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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recently assessed ASC payment adequacy, and whether to update payments for ASCs. In this meeting, MedPAC commissioners unanimously agreed to expedite voting in January to eliminate the update for ASC payment rates for 2017 and require ASCs to submit cost data. MedPAC’s recommendation is not unexpected or a new development. For the previous three years, MedPAC has included this recommendation in their annual report to Congress.

For more information, contact Steven Selde at sselde@ascassociation.org.
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ASCA’s offices will be closed the following days in celebration of the upcoming holidays: all day December 24, December 25, and January 1, and from 12:00 p.m. on December 31. The next Government Affairs Update will be published on Thursday, January 7.

ASCA wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season!
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Industry News


Concurrent Surgeries Come Under New Scrutiny
Boston Globe (12/20/15) Abelson, Jenn; Saltzman, Jonathan; Kowalczyk, Liz

In Minnesota, heart surgeons occasionally performed overlapping operations at hospitals roughly eight miles apart, leaving the second patient waiting under anesthesia for the doctor to arrive. In Wisconsin, a medical school paid $840,000 this year to settle a lawsuit alleging that neurosurgeons illegally billed Medicare for simultaneous spine surgeries that were largely done by unsupervised medical residents.
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Health Care's Price Conundrum
New Yorker (12/18/15) Gawande, Atul

The more expensive it is, the better it must be. That's how people used to think about health-care costs.
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Health Plans Report ICD-10 Success
ICD10Monitor.com (12/17/15) Spivey, Mark

Health plans nationwide are touting widespread success in the implementation of ICD-10, according to comments made by three health plan representatives during the most recent edition of Talk Ten Tuesdays, the weekly Internet broadcast hosted by ICD10monitor.com. Brian A. Parkany, senior director of strategic operations and ICD-10 operations and technology for Aetna, George Vancore, director of IT integration for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, and Shelagh Kalland, transformational lead of stabilization and director of the ICD-10 program at Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota all had good things to say about life after ICD-10.
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Blumenthal Calls on UnitedHealthcare to Stay in Exchanges
Hartford Business.com (Connecticut) (12/16/15)

In a letter to UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal has urged the company to continue its participation in the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Earlier this month, UnitedHealthcare announced it would scale back marketing of its exchange plans for 2016, and would consider leaving the exchanges fully in 2017.
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AMA Questions Data Standards for Physician Compare
HealthIT Interoperability (12/14/2015) Irving, Frank

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Dec. 10 the addition of new quality data to the Physician Compare website. The aim, in the agency's words, is to "increase the availability and accessibility of information on quality to help consumers make informed health care decisions and encourage care improvements."
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New Kaiser Permanente Med School Part of a Growing Trend
Kaiser Health News (12/18/15) Rovner, Julie

Thursday's announcement by Kaiser Permanente that it plans to open its own medical school in Southern California has attracted a lot of attention in the health care community. But Kaiser is actually at the trailing edge of a medical school expansion that has been unmatched since the 1960s and 1970s, say medical education experts.
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ABIM Extends Practice Assessment Decision Through 2018
American Board of Internal Medicine News Release (12/16/15)

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced today that the ABIM Board of Directors has unanimously voted to extend their decision, announced in February of this year, and will not require Practice Assessment, Patient Voice and Patient Safety in its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program through December 31, 2018. Based upon feedback from the internal medicine and subspecialty community, as well as ABIM's commitment to ensuring the MOC program does a better job recognizing meaningful activities physicians are already doing in practice, the ABIM Board of Directors determined at its December 2015 meeting that it would continue the current practice whereby no internist will have his or her certification status changed for not having completed activities in Practice Assessment, Patient Voice or Patient Safety through December 31, 2018.
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With Late Surge, ObamaCare Sign-Ups Reach 6 Million
The Hill (12/18/15) Sullivan, Peter

The Obama administration announced Friday that 6 million people have signed up for ObamaCare health coverage — calling the total a sign of a surge in growth in this year's sign-up period. The 6 million people who signed up for coverage is much higher than the 3.4 million people who had signed up at this point in last year’s enrollment period.
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American Society of Anesthesiologists Establishes New Checklist for Mass Casualty Situations to Enhance Emergency Preparedness
Newswise (12/07/15)

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) today announced the release of a new resource for hospitals, physicians and O.R. personnel--the Operating Room Mass Casualty Management checklist. Developed by the ASA Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness (COTEP), the tool helps physician anesthesiologists and O.R. personnel optimize their response and better manage the flow of patient care during mass casualty events.
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Orthopedic Surgeons Should Lead the Process of Bundled Payment Initiatives
Orthopedics Today (12/15) Romeo, Anthony A.

During the next decade, The Advisory Board Company projects increases in both inpatient and outpatient orthopedic care. Knee and hip replacements will continue to lead the growth of inpatient procedures.
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