ASCA News Digest (February 10, 2015)

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February 10, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


ASCA Cancels 2015 Medical Director Leadership Seminar

Regrettably, lagging registrations for ASCA’s Medical Director Leadership Seminar, originally scheduled for May 16–17, in Orlando, have forced us to cancel this program. Meanwhile, ASCA’s annual meeting is still taking place in Orlando May 13–16, and we hope that you will join us there. If you have any questions about the cancelled seminar, please call Shawn Bryant at 703.836.8808 x 126. 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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Attend ASCA's upcoming webinar to master the art of supplier contracting by simplifying complex terms, sourcing strategy and negotiation strategy. Register today to get answers to common questions surrounding the process of supplier contracting. MORE
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A corrected version of ASCA's Medicare Rate Calculator is now available. There was an error in the previous version of the calculator for codes with the patient responsibility waived. We apologize for the error. 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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ASCA will be offering a webinar on March 3 to address the recent changes to the CMS Interpretive Guidelines. The webinar will be offered free of charge to ASCA members. Learn about changes to the radiologist on staff guidelines, physician discharge, emergency transfers and more. MORE
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While 2014 was a year when ASCA achieved a few significant objectives, there is still much work to be done. We have made huge strides on our EHR issues, and this year saw Capitol Hill—both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee—acknowledge that this is a problem. 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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AThe budget released by President Obama on Monday includes many policies that might impact ASCs and indicates the direction that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) wishes to take on Medicare policy and reform. MORE
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Industry News


CMS Is Prepared for ICD-10 Implementation, GAO Report Says
EHR Intelligence (02/09/2015) Bresnick, Jennifer

CMS is adequately preparing for ICD-10 implementation to go ahead on October 1, 2015, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published late last week. Both Medicare and Medicaid agencies have taken the appropriate steps to complete internal technical changes, conduct industry outreach, and provide transitional help to providers, the report states, despite lingering concerns over external testing with the larger health care community.
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Suspension of Internists' Recertification Rules Spurs Broader Debate About Competency Testing
Modern Healthcare (02/06/15) Robeznieks, Andis

The American Board of Internal Medicine's suspension of controversial provisions of its maintenance-of-certification program has specialists of all types looking for alternatives to the MOC programs now required by the 24 members of the American Board of Medical Specialties. "I don't know of a specialty where the physicians are happy with their maintenance-of-certification program," said Dr. J.P. Abenstein, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist who serves as president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
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Anthem Hack Raises Fears About Medical Data
Los Angeles Times (02/05/15) Terhune, Chad

Insurance giant Anthem Inc. suffered a massive data breach exposing the personal information of up to 80 million Americans--and it could have been even worse for consumers. The hackers didn't take sensitive medical information on patients or their credit card data, according to the company, even though it was stored alongside Social Security numbers and other personal information that were stolen.
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Specialist Doctors Head for Exit as U.S. Shifts Payments
Bloomberg (02/01/15) Wayne, Alexander

The Obama administration's push to transform the way the U.S. pays for health care is splitting the medical profession, as family doctors embrace changes that oncologists, neurologists and other specialists are concerned will cause turmoil. The government set a timetable last week to extinguish Medicare's "fee-for-service" system, which rewards the quantity of care over quality.
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Panel Evaluates New Payment Models, Offers Fresh Ideas
AAFP News Now (02/05/15)

A panel of physicians and other key players said new payment models that are being introduced around the country will succeed only if they support primary care and improve care coordination. The Brookings Institution recently hosted a discussion about payment reform that brought together physicians, insurance representatives and employers.
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When Hospitals Buy Doctors' Offices, and Patient Fees Soar
New York Times (02/06/15) Sanger-Katz, Margot

Imagine you're a Medicare patient, and you go to your doctor for an ultrasound of your heart one month. Medicare pays your doctor's office $189, and you pay about 20 percent of that bill as a co-payment.
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HCCI Data Show Potential Financial Benefits of Shopping for Health Care Services
Health Care Cost Institute (02/03/2015)

A new data brief from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) examines how much consumer medical care prices vary for certain elective procedures and demonstrates how much consumers could save out of their own pockets by shopping for care. The HCCI analysis shows that consumer out-of-pocket spending for common health care procedures can vary from $10 to nearly $1,000 depending on the procedure.
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Enhanced Recovery: Improving Patients' Surgical Experience
U.S. News & World Report (02/04/15) Crane, Kristine

When Paul Kleeberg, a 61-year-old primary care physician who now works in health information technology, went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in mid-December to undergo a colectomy, he had never heard of "enhanced recovery." But when Kleeberg found himself nibbling on a roast beef sandwich just hours after emerging from the five-hour procedure, and his Fitbit recorded 200 steps that same night, he knew he had been spared the pain, grogginess and nausea that has traditionally been part of post-surgical recovery.
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Budget Plan Sees Savings in Changes to Medicare
New York Times (02/03/15) Pear, Robert

In his new budget, President Obama proposed on Monday to squeeze $399 billion over the next 10 years out of Medicare, Medicaid and other programs run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Under the proposals, many Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay more for their care and coverage.
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FDA Commissioner to Resign
Wall Street Journal (02/05/15) Burton, Thomas M.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg will leave the agency by the end of March, ending a tenure marked by an expansion of food safety regulation and speedier drug approvals. Dr. Hamburg said in an interview it was her decision to leave after almost six years leading the agency because "this is a difficult and demanding job where you're buffeted by all sorts of points of view."
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Sen. Murray Calls for FDA Guidance After Superbug Outbreak
The Hill (02/04/15) Wheeler, Lydia

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) wants the Food and Drug Administration to release new guidance and best practices for reusable medical devices following the spread of a deadly superbug at a medical center in Seattle. Contaminated devices, known as duodenoscopes, led to an outbreak of a multidrug-resistant superbug at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.
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Nashville Ambulatory Surgery Operator Buys Delaware Facility
Nashville Business Journal (02/04/15) Kennedy, Eleanor

Nashville-based Surgery Partners, the ambulatory surgery center operator that bought Symbion last fall, has bought a Delaware outpatient surgery center. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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