ASCA News Digest (July 14, 2015)

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July 14, 2015

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ASCA Highlights


Time Running Out to Submit Data for Salary and Benefits Survey

The deadline to enter data for ASCA’s Salary and Benefits Survey has been extended to July 31. The more ASCs that participate, the more valuable the data comparisons will be for your future business planning. Start submitting your data today—all ASCs can enter data for free. The new online platform will produce personalized graphical reports comparing your data with the data of similar ASCs. In order to receive the reports for free, you must answer at least 50% of the questions. MORE
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AW0262 Navicure

Collect more from patients and payers.

Navicure’s® worry-free claims management and patient payment solutions can help your ASC collect more revenue from patients and payers, faster and with less effort. Plus, our 3-Ring® Client Service guarantees that all support calls are answered within three rings−even during ICD-10. To learn more, click here or visit www.navicure.com.


Ensure Patient Safety During Procedural Sedation

The ASA Standard of Basic Anesthetic Monitoring (2011) requires capnography monitoring during procedural sedation.

Nonin Medical’s easy-to-use, cost-effective RespSense™ and LifeSense® capnographs help ensure adequacy of ventilation and provide the earliest indication of an adverse breathing event.


The data collection period for the second quarter (Q2) of the 2015 ASCA Benchmarking Program is now open. If you haven't subscribed yet, sign up online to start submitting your data. Even though you are subscribing during Q2, you will still receive the national/specialty report for Q1. The data collection period will close on July 31. MORE
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Effective medication management is critical to ensuring safe, high-quality care in ASCs. Join pharmacy and accreditation consultant Sheldon S. Sones for today's webinar at 1:00 pm ET. Sones will provide steps for ASCs to take to minimize medication management risks and support efforts for positive outcomes. Areas of anesthesia provider strategies, controlled drug management, documentation and recent "points of focus" by overseers will be discussed. MORE
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Learn how to create compliant, informational and easy-to-use agendas and minutes for your ASC’s Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) meetings during ASCA's upcoming webinar on July 21 at 1:00 pm ET. Get formatting tips and insights into how to use these documents to help the members of your Board of Directors fulfill all of their QAPI-related responsibilities at your ASC. MORE
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Register for ASCA’s 2015 Fall Seminar, October 8–10, in Louisville, Kentucky. Friday’s concurrent sessions will cover finance and accounting principles, physician credentialing, ICD-10, pharmacy management, QAPI, evaluations and new employee orientation. Thursday and Saturday’s breakout sessions will cover quality reporting, human resources, the Life Safety Code and an AAMI update. The CASC Exam will be offered on Saturday. MORE
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CMS has released its July 2015 Update of the ASC Payment System, which provides third quarter updates to the ASC payment system. There were changes to the reimbursement rate for many codes. ASCA’s payment resources have been updated to incorporate the July addenda changes. The most current documents include a parenthetical with “effective July 1, 2015.” MORE
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Last week, CMS issued its proposed rule that updates payment policies and rates under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) for 2016. This year, CMS is proposing a number of new policies, including several that are a result of recently-enacted legislation. MORE
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Industry News


Lower Surgical Costs by Better Aligning the Interests of Insurers and Consumers
The Hill (07/09/15) Bohlke, Terry

The good news about our private health insurance system is that more Americans have coverage today than at any time in history. The bad news is that private health insurance has, at least historically, perpetuated a system that lacks any real incentives or ability for individuals as health consumers to exercise much discretion over their health care purchases.
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CMS and AMA Announce Efforts to Help Providers Get Ready for ICD-10
CMS Press Release (07/06/15)

With less than three months remaining until the nation switches from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding for medical diagnoses and inpatient hospital procedures, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA) are announcing efforts to continue to help physicians get ready ahead of the October 1 deadline. In response to requests from the provider community, CMS is releasing additional guidance that will allow for flexibility in the claims auditing and quality reporting process as the medical community gains experience using the new ICD-10 code set.
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CPR and HCI3 Release State Report Card on Access to Health Care Prices for Consumers
PR Newswire (07/08/15)

While most state grades remained unchanged, in some states there has been a flurry of activity in legislatures aimed at making price information for health services available to consumers. These are among the findings of the third annual Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws developed by Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3).
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CMS Proposes Major Initiative for Hip and Knee Replacements
HHS News Release (07/09/15)

Hip and knee replacements are some of the most common surgeries that Medicare beneficiaries receive. In 2013, there were more than 400,000 inpatient primary procedures, costing Medicare more than $7 billion for hospitalization alone.
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CMS Proposes Cuts to 2016 Colonoscopy Rates
American Gastroenterological Association (07/09/15)

Late Wednesday, July 8, CMS released the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) proposed rule which, if finalized, would drastically cut reimbursement rates for colonoscopy and other lower GI endoscopy procedures. AGA, ACG and ASGE will fight these cuts.
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Colon Cancer Deaths Tumble, But Not in These Hotspots
NBC News (07/08/15)

Colon cancer deaths are moving briskly down across the U.S.--with the exception of three large hotspots, researchers reported Wednesday. A "perfect storm" of high obesity rates, low education and a lack of access to medical care make for frighteningly high colon cancer rates in the Mississippi delta, western Appalachia and the borderland between Virginia and North Carolina, the American Cancer Society finds.
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CMS Colonoscopy Measure Dry Run
EndoNurse (07/08/15)

Through July 31, the CMS ASC Quality Reporting Program (ASCQR) will conduct a "dry run" of a new outpatient colonoscopy measure for hospital outpatient department (HOPD) and ambulatory surgery center (ASC) quality reporting programs. This dry run allows ASCs to review their measure results, and ask questions about and become familiar with the measure calculation methodology.
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States Line Up to Scrutinize Aetna's $33 Billion Humana Deal
Reuters (07/10/15) Humer, Caroline

U.S. insurance regulators and state attorneys general are lining up to scrutinize Aetna Inc.'s proposed $33 billion takeover of rival Humana Inc for potential harm to consumers, complicating what is already expected to be a tough and lengthy review by federal antitrust authorities. Insurance commissioners in 18 states including Texas, Kentucky and Florida will study merger documents provided by Humana to determine whether the deal will harm competition and lead to higher insurance premiums or diminished access to health care providers, according to Reuters interviews with regulators and insurance experts.
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Survey Finds Many Physicians, Clinicians Work Sick Despite Risk to Patients
EurekAlert (07/06/15)

Many physicians and advanced practice clinicians, including registered nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants, reported to work while being sick despite recognizing this could put patients at risk, according to the results of a small survey published online by JAMA Pediatrics. Health-care associated infections can lead to substantial illness and death and excess costs.
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FDA Strengthens Warning That Non-Aspirin NSAIDs Can Cause Heart Attacks or Strokes
FDA News Release (07/09/15)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strengthening an existing label warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke. Based on our comprehensive review of new safety information, we are requiring updates to the drug labels of all prescription NSAIDs.
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House Passes Bill to Improve Safety Monitoring of Medical Devices
Wall Street Journal (07/12/15) Levitz, Jennifer

A sweeping medical research bill that passed the House on Friday included a provision aimed at improving safety monitoring of medical devices--an amendment inspired by a controversial gynecological device. With the amendment from Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, (R., Pa.), lawmakers would express "a sense of Congress" that "unique device identifiers" should be included in electronic health records.
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Transparency Program Obscures Pharma Payments to Nurses, Physician Assistants
ProPublica (07/06/2015) Ornstein, Charles

A nurse practitioner in Connecticut pleaded guilty in June to taking $83,000 in kickbacks from a drug company in exchange for prescribing its high-priced drug to treat cancer pain. In some cases, she delivered promotional talks attended only by herself and a company sales representative.
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