ASCA News Digest (February 18, 2015)

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February 18, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


Don’t Miss These Sessions at ASCA 2015

ASCA 2015, May 13–16, in Orlando, will offer a wide variety of educational sessions, including “Medicare Quality Reporting Update for ASCs,” “Emerging Trends in Post Op Care after Total Joint Procedures,” “Pharmacy Medication Management,” “EPA and DEA Drug Disposal Update” and “Life Safety Standards—Methods for Compliance.” MORE
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ASCs must enroll in NHSN to report healthcare personnel influenza vaccination summary data for Medicare’s ASC Quality Reporting Program. The reporting deadline is May 15 and at this time 64% of ASCs that are required to report data have not yet enrolled in NHSN. The registration process can take more than a month, so please register immediately if you have not already. MORE
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Supplies typically make up 30% of an ASC's cost structure. Learn how to cut your supply costs by improving your supplier contracts during ASCA's next webinar "Supplier Contracting Best Practices." This program, presented by Chris Klassen, vice president of supply chain for Surgical Care Affiliates, will be offered Tuesday, February 24, at 1:00 pm ET. MORE
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Special reduced prices for ASCA’s new online Regulatory Training Series have been extended and are available through February 28. The Regulatory Training Series is a convenient and low-cost way to meet regulatory requirements, orient new staff and achieve top outcomes. Take advantage of this new program to earn CE credit on your own time and without having to travel. MORE
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The survey questions for the 2015 ASCA Benchmarking survey have been finalized. Section VII: Financial Measures has been completely revamped with new questions and a number of new CPT code ranges have been added to Section 1: Volume. Make sure to sign up to participate in the 2015 survey. 2014 participants who don’t subscribe will lose access to their quarterly reports on March 31. 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 the changes to the radiologist on staff guidelines and gain an understanding of other clarifications that were recently made on topics including: physician discharge, emergency transfers, informed consent and more. MORE
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US Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and David Scott (D-GA), along with original cosponsors Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), have introduced the Electronic Health Fairness Act (H.R. 887) to protect ASC-practicing physicians from being penalized for not meeting requirements that they are “meaningful users” of a certified EHR system. MORE
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ASCA representatives met with CMS payment policy staff earlier this week to present additional procedures that can safely be moved to the ASC-payable list. Three medical directors from CMS participated in the discussion as industry surgeons advocated for the inclusion of additional spine codes as well as total joint on the ASC-payable list. MORE
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Industry News


Survey Examines ICD-10 Implementation Costs in Small Physician Offices
Journal of AHIMA (02/11/15) Butler, Mary

The cost of implementing ICD-10-CM/PCS in small physician offices is drastically lower than previous and widely disseminated estimates, according to a new white paper. With so much speculation swirling about the cost of implementing ICD-10 for small physician practices, the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) conducted a survey of its membership to assess the ICD-10-related costs actually being incurred by small physician practices—focusing on practices with six or fewer direct care providers.
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CMS Clarifies Policy to Permit Use of Short Cycle Steam Sterilization in Ophthalmic ASCs
American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators (02/05/15)

Following strong advocacy efforts by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (the Academy), the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), and the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society (OOSS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has clarified that the practices of most ophthalmic ASCs would be in compliance with its rules governing instrument sterilization. In order to comply with Medicare regulations and avoid citation in a facility survey, the ASC must adhere to the sterilizer manufacturer’s directions for use (DFUs).
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With the Growth of Outpatient Orthopedic Spine Surgery, More Research Is Warranted
Orthopedics Today (02/15) Tingle, Casey

As the potential and practicality of orthopedic spine surgery performed in the outpatient setting gains traction with both patients and surgeons, questions still remain about reimbursement, risk-to-benefit ratios, guidelines for follow-up care and decisions about which procedures should be done in this environment. "The question for spinal surgery is what are the appropriate kinds of procedures to be done in an ambulatory setting and which ones are best suited to be done in a hospital?" Andrew C. Hecht, MD, chief of spine surgery and associate professor in orthopedics and neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told Orthopedics Today.
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Underlying Reasons Associated With Hospital Readmission Following Surgery in the United States
Journal of the American Medical Association (02/03/15) Vol. 313, No. 5, P. 483 Merkow, Ryan P.; Ju, Mila H.; Chung, Jeanette W.; et al.

Readmission as a quality and cost-containment metric is now a major issue for hospitals, clinicians, and policy makers. Although the initial focus was on 3 medical conditions (myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has since expanded its focus on readmissions to include 2 separate measures related to surgical patients: readmissions following total hip and knee arthroplasty as part of their Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program and hospital-wide readmissions (ie, includes all surgical patients), which are publicly reported.
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Blue Cross NC Price Tool Could Shake Up Medical Industry
Charlotte Observer (NC) (02/02/15) Murawski, John

Leslie Goldfarb of Charlotte had been talking to two surgeons about knee surgery and worrying about her out-of-pocket costs. When she recently read about a new online database from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, she checked the average reimbursement for those surgeons.
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Brookings: Healthcare Hacks Up 1,800 Percent, Penalties on Firms Weak
Washington Examiner (DC) (02/13/15) Bedard, Paul

Hackings of data from health care firms and doctors jumped over 1,800 percent from 2008-2013, but the federal law governing privacy isn't tough enough to force a major tightening of security, according to a new study. Reviewing Health and Human Services reports of data breaches where more than 500 patients were exposed, the Brookings Institution found that the number went from just 13 in 2008 to 256 in 2013, impacting 9 million in 2014.
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Feds Extend Obamacare Enrollment Period for Some
USA Today (02/16/15) Ungar, Laura

Americans who couldn't enroll in federal Obamacare insurance plans over the weekend because of computer glitches or long waits will now have until next Sunday to sign up, federal officials announced early Monday. "We are pleased that the vast majority of consumers were able to apply and pick a plan through HealthCare.gov or its call center without a problem," said Aaron Albright, spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
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Oklahoma Surgery Center Saves Patients Money
FOX23 (Tulsa) (02/05/15) Rozzi, Shae

People from across the country are coming to Oklahoma to save thousands of dollars on medical care. FOX23 discovered one place in the state that's been open for nearly two decades, but many people don't know about it until they need it.
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8 Predictions Shaping the Future Healthcare Supply Chain
HIT Consultant (02/05/15) Pennic, Jasmine

As the healthcare industry continues to change, organizations are seeking new ways to remove waste, cut costs and improve patient care. Health care supply chain provider, Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) recently spoke with a select group of customers, from large and mid-sized hospitals to some of the biggest suppliers in the world, for their perspectives on how the supply chain will help usher in health care transformation and its role in the coming two decades.
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AMA, MATTER Partner to Create Transformative Health Care Innovation and Technology-Enabled 'Physician Office of the Future'
American Medical Association (02/04/2015)

With a shared commitment to meeting the evolving needs of the health care marketplace, the American Medical Association (AMA) and MATTER, Chicago's new health care technology incubator, today announced a partnership to drive innovation and create a flexible facility that will allow physicians, entrepreneurs, health care professionals and industry experts to test new models for health care delivery. The AMA Interaction Studio at MATTER is being designed with physical and virtual infrastructure that will enable entrepreneurs and physicians to collaborate on the development of new technologies, services and products in a simulated health care environment.
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