ASCA News Digest (February 24, 2015)

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February 24, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


Last Week to Save on ASCA's Regulatory Training Series

Special reduced prices for ASCA’s new online Regulatory Training Series will end on Saturday, 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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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 emergency transfers, transfer agreements, the definition of an operating room, informed consent and more. MORE
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Read the latest issue of ASC Focus to learn about improving your revenue cycle, insurance protection, embracing up front conversations with patients about cost, an overview of Medicare payment policy and more. ASCA members can the read the digital edition for free as part of their association membership. MORE
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It has come to ASCA’s attention that certain drugs and biologics which are not adjusted by wage index were unintentionally included in ASCA’s Medicare Rate Calculator. These codes have been removed, so that only the codes for which local wage index is factored into an ASC’s reimbursement rate are included. MORE
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ASCA 2015, May 13-16, is taking place at the Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida. Plan to bring your whole family and make it a vacation. The resort features a dedicated kid’s splash park, two 200-foot waterslides and is located just minutes from Disney World, Universal Studios and Legoland. You can also enjoy championship golf, award-winning restaurants and a rejuvenating full-service spa. 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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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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The US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee recently convened a hearing on the implementation of ICD-10. Overall, the general tone of the hearing indicated that most of the organizations testifying, along with many of the Committee members, felt prepared to move to the new coding system. MORE
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Industry News


Researchers Unveil Bidirectional ICD-9 to ICD-10 Mapping Tool
EHR Intelligence (02/16/2015) Murphy, Kyle

A team of researchers has unveiled a bidirectional ICD-9 and ICD-10 mapping tool which it claims will enable healthcare organizations, providers, researchers, and other professionals to compare diseases during the upcoming ICD-10 transition. Two kinds of tools emerged from the work of Boyd et al. published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
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Value-Based Payments Hurting Specialists
Health IT Outcomes (02/16/2015) Kern, Christine

A survey conducted by the Physicians Foundation has found specialists may find themselves forced to close their practices or merge with large providers when Medicare's value-based approach to reimbursement takes effect. The Physicians Foundation's 2014 Survey of American Physicians is intended to "take the pulse" of physicians and offer a "check-up" of the medical profession by creating a snapshot of physician morale, practice plans, practice patterns, and professional perspectives.
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FDA Issues Endoscope Warning Following Superbug Outbreak
Modern Healthcare (02/19/15) Johnson, Steven Ross

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a general warning to health providers regarding the use of medical endoscopes for complex endoscopic procedures such as the one that led to seven people becoming infected with a superbug bacteria at a Los Angeles hospital. Two of those patients died.
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UCLA Outbreak Highlights Challenge Of Curbing Infections
NPR Online (02/20/15) Rau, Jordan

The bacterial outbreak at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center highlights shortcomings in the federal government's efforts to avert the most lethal hospital infections, which are becoming increasingly impervious to treatment. Government efforts are hobbled, infection control experts say, by gaps in monitoring the prevalence of these resilient germs both within hospitals and beyond.
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CMS Delays Repayment Final Rule a Year
McKnight's Long Term Care News (02/18/15) Hall, John

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday made official its plan to postpone implementation of a new rule on collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments until Feb. 16, 2016 — but providers remain on the hook for returning the money before then. The proposed rule would require Medicare providers and suppliers of services under Parts A and B of title XVIII to return overpayments within 60 days — a move the agency says is required by the Affordable Care Act.
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Surgery Charges Vary Widely Across Major Markets, Report Finds
Healthcare Finance News (02/19/15) Morse, Susan

At this point, everyone knows there's no standard price for medical procedures including a stent placement, appendectomy or total hip replacement, but how much hospitals charge actually varies widely by geographic area, according to a recent report by Government Accountability Office. The Committee on Energy and Commerce commissioned the study to understand how high quality care can be provided while maintaining or lowering current spending levels, according to the report released last month.
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How to Make Surgery Safer
Wall Street Journal (02/17/15) Landro, Laura

Hospitals are trying to make it safer for patients to go under the knife. Surgery can be risky by its very nature, and the possibility of error or negligence makes it even more so.
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U.S. Health-Care Spending Is on the Rise Again
Bloomberg (02/18/15) Tozzi, John

The national medical bill may be back to growing faster than gross domestic product. After five years of historically slow growth, new data show U.S. health-care spending accelerated significantly in 2014.
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CMS Issues the Final HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2016
CMS Press Release (02/20/15)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the Final HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2016. This rule seeks to improve consumers' experience in the Health Insurance Marketplace and to ensure their coverage options are affordable and accessible.
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What Money? Many Docs Haven't Visited the Open Payments Database
Wall Street Journal (02/20/15) Silverman, Ed

After years of anticipation, the U.S. government last fall launched the Open Payments database, which tracks money and other items of value that drug and device makers give physicians for consulting, speaking and research, among other things. The effort reflected growing concern that financial ties between physicians and industry may have undue influence on medical practice and research.
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The Benefits of Health Care Price Transparency
Carolina Journal (02/13/15) Restrepo, Katherine

It's now been a little more than one month since Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina went public with its health care cost estimator tool. Regardless of whether you have a BCBS card, anyone can now compare average costs for more than 1,200 procedures in just about any ZIP code across the state.
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Study Shows Strong Association Between Cosmetic Surgery Pricing, Local Economic Factors
Healio (02/12/2015) Sutton, Abigail

Local economic factors like cost of living and real estate values were found to directly influence price-setting for cosmetic surgery procedures, according to recently published study data. Researchers randomly selected 10 plastic surgery practices from each of 15 U.S. cities with various population sizes to determine the factors behind the pricing of cosmetic surgery procedures.
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Influence of Colonoscopy Quality Measures on Patients' Colonoscopist Selection
American Journal of Gastroenterology (02/15) Vol. 110, No. 2, P. 215 Solad, Yauheni; Wang, Charles; Laine, Loren; et al.

The Affordable Care Act emphasizes the use of quality metrics and greater patient understanding of health-care options and access to physician performance data. The objectives of this study were to determine patients' familiarity with colonoscopy quality measures (CQMs) and their influence on patient selection of a colonoscopist.
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