ASCA News Digest (February 3, 2015)

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February 3, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


Q4 for ASCA Benchmarking Closes on Friday

The data collection period for the fourth quarter (Q4) of the 2014 ASCA Benchmarking Program closes this Friday, February 6. There is still time to sign up and participate. Please give yourself enough time to review your data before Friday; your data cannot be corrected or adjusted once the data submission period has closed. MORE
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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently published changes to its rules for the disposal of controlled substances, and these new requirements impact ASCs. Learn what your ASC needs to do to comply during ASCA's next webinar on Tuesday, February 10, at 1:00 pm ET. MORE
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is hosting a free webinar tomorrow, February 4, at 2:00 pm ET to go over the new ASC quality reporting measures and updates to the ASC Quality Reporting Specifications Manual. The presentation has been approved for 1 Continuing Education (CE) Unit. MORE
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The enrollment process for the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) can take more than a month. Please enroll now to give yourself enough time to complete the process. ASCA has heard from several members who are not receiving timely responses from the NHSN email address. In order to ensure the email is directed to the appropriate place, please email nhsn@cdc.gov and include “HPS Flu Summary-ASC” in the subject line. MORE
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If you attended ASCA's 2015 Winter Coding Seminar in San Diego, you have until February 15 to submit your evaluations to receive AEU credits or a certificate of participation. To submit online, you will need your ID number located on the back of your attendee badge. (If you no longer have your badge, you can request your ID number by sending an email to registration@ascassociation.org.) MORE
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ASCA’s Medical Director Leadership Seminar is a new meeting targeted exclusively to the unique interests and needs of medical directors and other physician leaders in the ASC setting. The program will address budgeting, patient selection, implementing new procedures, enhancing teamwork, strategic planning, managing liability and more. MORE
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As health care reform, greater demand for services and newer technology drive more of the burden for health costs onto patients, ASCs lacking successful collections processes are likely to see significant negative effects on their operations. MORE
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Plan to join us in Orlando for ASCA 2015, May 13-16. This year's program will cover electronic health records, proper credentialing, front office management, deemed status and CMS surveys, HIPAA, nursing documentation, risk management assessment, patient selection, life safety standards, maintaing good staff, negotiating vendor contracts and more. MORE
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Enrollment for Cohort 5 of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Safety Program for Ambulatory Surgery is now open. The program is designed to improve communication, teamwork and quality in your ASC and will focus on effectively implementing a surgical safety checklist as a means of reducing infections and complications. MORE
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Attending an ASCA Fly-In will benefit you and the industry in many ways. First, joining with hundreds of your fellow advocates produces remarkable results. After the 2014 Fly-Ins, more than 100 members of Congress cosponsored important ASCA supported legislation. MORE
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Industry News


Medicare to Publish Physician-Payment Data Yearly
Wall Street Journal (02/01/15) Stewart, Christopher S.; Carreyrou, John

The U.S. government will begin releasing Medicare physician-payment records every year, cementing public access to how tens of billions of dollars are spent annually on everything from office visits to radiation therapy. Last April, a year's worth of the data was released for the first time in more than three decades after Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones & Co. challenged a 1979 injunction that prohibited Medicare from disclosing its payments to doctors.
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Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Study Reveals Extreme Cost Variations for Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (01/21/15)

The cost of knee and hip replacement surgeries--among the fastest growing medical treatments in the U.S.--varies widely in markets across the country, with extreme variations emerging even within the same market area, according to a report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and Blue Health Intelligence (BHI). The report, based on independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies' claims data, shows that prices for identical procedures can quadruple in cost depending on which hospital a patient chooses within a market.
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Nine States Formally Introduce Legislation to Speed Physician Licensing Across State Lines
Newswise (01/23/15)

With some state legislative sessions only a few weeks old, already legislators in nine states--Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming--have formally introduced the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, model legislation that would speed the process of issuing licenses for physicians who wish to practice in multiple states. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has launched a new webpage, http://licenseportability.org, to track the progress of the Compact in state legislatures.
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AMA Pleased That CMS Plans to Modify Meaningful Use Program
American Medical Association News Release (01/29/15)

Steven J. Stack, MD, president-Elect, American Medical Association: "The American Medical Association welcomes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) announcement of plans to address some of the issues we have raised with the Meaningful Use program through rulemaking aimed at requirements for meeting Meaningful Use in 2015. We are eager to see the proposed rule as we have been working with CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) offering solutions to improve the incentive program for quite some time."
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HHS Proposes Path to Improve Health Technology and Transform Care
HHS News Release (01/30/15)

The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today released Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Version 1.0. The draft Roadmap is a proposal to deliver better care and result in healthier people through the safe and secure exchange and use of electronic health information.
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AAPC: ICD-10 Testing Considered Successful
ICD10Monitor.com (01/26/15) Buckholtz, Rhonda

"ICD-10 implementation has not been as hard as they thought it would be, and … overall it has improved processes and documentation in their practices." Similar comments were echoed by many of the more than 2,000 respondents who participated in a recent AAPC ICD-10 Testing Survey.
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Medical Costs Rise as Retirees Winter in Florida
New York Times (02/01/15) P. A1 Rosenthal, Elisabeth

Like many retirees, one couple from upstate New York visit doctors in their winter getaway in Florida. But on a recent routine checkup of a pacemaker, a cardiologist there insisted on scheduling several expensive tests even though the 91-year-old husband had no symptoms.
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Medscape Physician Lifestyle Report 2015
Medscape (01/26/15) Peckham, Carol

Compared with other American workers, U.S. physicians suffer more burnout, according to a national survey. Burnout is defined as loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment.
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6 of the Cheapest Cities for Healthcare in America
Wall Street Cheat Sheet (01/20/15)

Health care is a source of financial stress and strain for many U.S. consumers. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report indicates that more than one out of four families recently experienced a financial burden due to medical care costs.
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St. Cloud Surgical Center Engages Germ-Zapping Robot
St. Cloud Times (Minnesota) (01/24/15) Allenspach, Kevin

Dr. Joe Nessler recently had an idea for an improvement at St. Cloud Surgical Center that is literally bright. Nessler, who joined St. Cloud Orthopedics in 1991, did some research into how to better reduce chances of infection for his patients and came across the trademarked Germ-Zapping Robot.
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