ASCA News Digest (January 13, 2015)

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January 13, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


Download the ASCA 2015 Program

The complete ASCA 2015 Program is now available online. Download the program today to review a detailed schedule with session descriptions, a list of social and networking events, exhibit hall hours, hotel and registration information and more. Share it with your colleagues and plan now to attend ASCA 2015 in Orlando, May 13–16. MORE
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently posted changes to the 2015 ASC payment rates. ASCA’s payment resources, including ASCA’s Medicare Rate Calculator, have all been updated to reflect the revisions. To be safe, please delete all previously released materials and use these moving forward. MORE
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The 2015 Winter Coding Seminar is next week, January 22-24, in San Diego. There is still time to sign up and ensure that your ASC is prepared for 2015’s coding and billing changes. Live nearby? ASCA has partnered with Avis Rental Car to offer 30% discounts. Need to escape the cold? Enjoy incredible ocean views and waterfront dining in 70 degree weather. MORE
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Need a convenient and low-cost way to earn continuing education (CE) credit this year? ASCA’s new Regulatory Training Series will help you meet regulatory requirements, orient new staff and achieve top outcomes without having to travel. Special reduced prices are available through the end of the month. MORE
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With a focus on spine procedures, learn how to serve patients of more procedures safely and efficiently in your ASC during ASCA’s next webinar, on Tuesday, January 27, at 1:00 pm ET. Hear about how ASCA worked to add spine codes to the Medicare-ASC payable list and which codes the association is advocating for this year and beyond. MORE
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Discipline problems in an ASC should never be taken lightly. There are no areas where you can make a mistake and it is not going to be impactful. It is imperative that employees follow rules, not only for patient safety and satisfaction but the cohesiveness of the team. MORE
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ASCs are encouraged to enroll now in the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) in order to report data for ASC-8: Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel as part of Medicare's ASC Quality Reporting Program. The enrollment process can take more than a month. Your facility does not need to re-enroll if it is already enrolled in NHSN. MORE
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The data collection period for the fourth quarter (Q4) of the 2014 ASCA Benchmarking Program is now open. The collection period will close February 6. If you haven’t purchased your 2014 subscription yet, there is still time to sign up. Even though you are subscribing during Q4, you will still receive the national/specialty report for Q1, Q2 and Q3. MORE
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ASCs using Class III (high-risk) medical devices are now required to report adverse patient events involving such devices. Class III medical devices include such items as stents and pacemakers. The reporting is to include the Unique Device Identifier (UDI) labels of the Class III device. MORE
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Industry News


Drug Shortage in the U.S. May Pose Deadly Problem for Patients
Time (NY) (01/06/15) Koba, Mark

Antibiotics and crucial saline solutions for patients who cannot eat or drink are in short supply, and the drug shortage and subsequent use of substitutes may have caused 15 deaths in 2011. The Food and Drug Administration found in 2007 that 154 drugs were either in short supply or no longer available, a figure that increased to 456 in 2012, before falling to more than 300 drugs in 2014.

Premier COO Michael Alkire says U.S. hospitals pay at least $230 million more per year to find alternative treatments. He notes, "Hospitals have been scrambling to continue to provide outstanding patient care while there are short supplies." The Government Accountability Office reported that 71 percent of all generic injectable cancer drugs sold in 2008 were produced by just three manufacturers, while 91 percent of the market share of injectable nutrients and supplements was held by just three pharmaceutical firms. Alkire says drug shortages have pushed up costs for existing drugs, in some cases "by 400 percent or more."
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A High-Impact, Low-Cost Approach to Physician Practice ICD-10 Implementation in 2015
ICD10Monitor.com (01/05/15) Tennant, Robert M.

Although compliance dates for ICD-10 implementation have been delayed multiple times, practices need to take action and not assume that the current deadline of Oct. 1, 2015, will be shifted again. Doing so could put a practice's revenue at-risk.

The Medical Group Management Association recommends taking high-impact, low-cost steps to move forward with ICD-10, such as conducting an impact assessment and creating an Excel spreadsheet or Word document to capture critical information related to impact areas, resolutions, and contingencies. Practices that use multiple software systems will need to evaluate each system separately to determine if it processes diagnosis codes and whether it will need to be upgraded or replaced. Practices also need to identify the readiness of external trading partners, including software vendors, clearinghouses, and health plans.
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Surgical Center Among First in Country to Offer Transparent Pricing
St George News (Utah) (01/05/15)

As part of Utah's new price transparency system, the St. George Surgical Center in St. George, Utah, began offering online instant quotes about six months ago. The quotes include one preoperative and one postoperative visit as well as surgeon, anesthesiologist, and center fees.

Procedures performed at the center include those in the ophthalmology, podiatry, urology, general, gynecology, plastics, and reconstructive fields. St. George said it tries to be as open as possible about any costs that may exceed initial quotes, such as additional testing or complications. In addition, it seeks to create a spa-like atmosphere, with each room having a different theme intended to soothe patients.
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Spine Surgery in Brevard Now Comes With a Guarantee
Florida Today (FL) (01/08/15) Sonnenberg, Maria

A pair of ambulatory surgery centers in Brevard County, Fla., now offer patients a warranty program. Dr. Ara Deukmedjian's practice guarantees that patients' back pain will be eliminated after surgery, otherwise any additional treatments will be provided at no cost.

The warranty for spine surgeries is valid at the Deuk Spine Institute and the Surgery Center of Viera, both in Melbourne, Fla. "We're able to offer the warranty because we have proven outcomes, thanks to our ability to offer all the services a patient needs in-network," says Deukmedjian. "We do diagnostic testing, therapy, medication, interventional pain management, and surgery as part of the package."
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Hospital Device May Be Opening for Hackers
Columbus Dispatch (01/12/15) Carlson, Joe

Wireless infusion pumps are used to inject patients with measured doses of drugs while sending information to their electronic medical records. Federal authorities are warning that these pumps could potentially be used by hackers to access a hospital's information network and steal patient's personal and billing data.

Wi-Fi-enabled infusion pumps are the first of many devices to be added in a new U.S. government initiative to develop guidelines to prevent cyberattacks against medical devices. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology hopes to publish its first set of recommendations as soon as next fall and then move on to security vulnerabilities in implantable medical devices and large equipment such as magnetic-resonance imaging scanners.
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The Physician Payment Sunshine Act: Testing the Value of Transparency
Journal of the American Medical Association (01/06/15) Vol. 313, No. 1, P. 23 Santhakumar, Sachin; Adashi, Eli Y.

A key goal of the CMS' Open Payment Program (OPP) database is enabling consumers to make more informed decisions when selecting health care providers and treatment. The OPP database in its current form may hinder this, however, according to the authors of a Viewpoint in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For instance, information on payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals by drug and device makers is accompanied by little contextual commentary. A large portion of payment transactions have been deidentified because of the need to reconcile apparent inaccuracies. Ideally, the OPP data should be aggregated in a more meaningful and user-friendly way to allow patients to accurately interpret it, the authors write.
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2015 MOC Standards Reflect Feedback, Fail to Stem Critics
Medscape (01/07/15) Frellick, Marcia

Physicians hold varying opinions on whether maintenance of certification (MOC) actually improves outcomes, according to two articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. One article, from the American Board of Medical Specialties' Drs. Mira Irons and Lois Nora, concludes that MOC is an essential method of self-regulation and a measure of physician expertise.

The second article, by Dr. Paul Teirstein of the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., asserts that MOC is a burden on physicians' time that does not demonstrate any benefit, and that a better alternative already exists in continuing medical education (CME). Physicians are required to take roughly 25 hours of CME annually depending on state rules, and this should replace MOC modules, Teirstein says.
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Patient Access to Personal Health Information: Regulation vs. Reality
Perspectives in Health Information Management (01/01/2015) Murphy-Abdouch, Kim

The AHIMA Foundation recently partnered with Texas State University to assess AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) members' health information management practices. Survey respondents were asked to provide information related to patient access to electronic and paper copies of their health information.

In September 2013, a total of 2,444 AHIMA members were invited to participate, including directors and privacy officers of ambulatory surgery centers, acute care providers, integrated delivery systems, and clinics. Nearly 50 percent of health care organizations with a patient portal said less than 5 percent of their patients use the portal. Additionally, 52.6 percent of respondents said they charge patients for electronic copies of their medical records and 64.7 percent said they charge patients for paper copies of their medical records.
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Surgical Technologists: Operating Room Staff Work Closely as a Team
Chicago Tribune (01/11/15) Hutkin, Erinn

Surgical technologists work under the supervision of a surgeon to help ensure that the operating room is safe, equipment functions as designed, and procedures focus on patient safety. Their tasks include prepping patients for surgery, sterilizing technical and robotic equipment, and assembling surgical trays.

Post-secondary training is required to enter the field, with programs varying from several months to two years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of jobs for surgical technologists will increase 30 percent by 2022 as surgery becomes safer and baby boomers require more surgical procedures.
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Study Finds Certification May Impact Surgical Patients
Infection Control Today (01/06/15)

A study published in the AORN Journal reveals that specialty nursing certification may help improve surgical patient outcomes. The research was conducted by the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) and the University of Kansas, and sponsored by the Competency & Credentialing Institute.

Researchers considered the impact of four types of certifications frequently held by perioperative nurses: certified ambulatory perianesthesia nurse (CAPA), certified postanesthesia nurse (CPAN), certified nurse operating room (CNOR), and certified RN first assistant (CRNFA). The results indicate that higher rates of CPAN and CNOR/CRNFA certification in perioperative units were significantly associated with lower rates of central-line associated bloodstream infections in surgical intensive care units. The researchers also examined secondary data from the NDNQI to "ensure the research could be generalized to more facilities," says James Stobinski, one of the study authors.
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