ASCA News Digest (June 23, 2015)

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June 23, 2015

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ASCA Highlights


Stay Competitive and Retain the Best Employees

All ASCs are invited to participate in ASCA's new online Salary and Benefits Survey for free. ASCs do not have to be ASCA members to participate, and those that complete more than 50 percent of the questions will receive a personalized report for free. The survey collects data on 20 ASC positions. The final report will allow ASCs to quickly compare their compensation packages to similar ASCs, negotiate raises and determine salaries and benefits for new positions. Data collection will close on June 30 and won't open back up until 2017, so make sure to submit your data this month. MORE
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Register now for ASCA’s 2015 Fall Seminar, October 8–10, in Louisville, Kentucky. The concurrent sessions on October 9 will cover finance and accounting principles, physician credentialing, ICD-10, pharmacy management, QAPI, staff evaluations and new employee orientation. The breakout sessions on October 8 and 9 will cover quality reporting, human resources law, the Life Safety Code and an AAMI update. The CASC exam will be offered on October 10. MORE
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Get an overview of the legal issues surrounding the use of social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) in the workplace during ASCA's next webinar on Tuesday, June 30. Ed Boniske, associate attorney at Higgs, Fletcher & Mack, LLP of San Diego, California, will share practical tips for regulating the use of social media in the business environment. MORE
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Find out how the impending ICD-10 deadline will affect your ASC during ASCA’s July 9 webinar “ICD-10: Current Documentation Practices and Contingency Plans that Impede Progress.” Cristina Bentin, president of Coding Compliance Management, LLC, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will present the program, which will include a review of current documentation practices and contingency plans that might need to be fine-tuned or overhauled under the new system. AAPC credit will be available. MORE
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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will launch an endoscopy-focused cohort of its Safety Program for Ambulatory Surgery on July 20. Targeted specifically to endoscopy centers, this nine-month program is designed to improve communication, teamwork and quality in ambulatory endoscopy facilities. Enrollment is open now and will continue until the program begins. MORE
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  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.


Still searching for that perfect job in the ASC community? The ASCA Career Center is your gateway to professional success. Job seekers can sign up for the Career Center for free and follow simple instructions to create a professional profile, set up job alerts and post a resume confidentially. MORE
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If you attended ASCA 2015 in Orlando, you have until June 30, 2015, to submit your continuing education credits online. 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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More than 65 ASCA members attended ASCA’s Capitol Fly-In in Washington, DC, last week. Representing 21 states, Fly-In participants met with close to 100 congressional offices and lobbied their members of Congress to cosponsor pro-ASC legislation that, if passed, would have a direct and positive effect on ASC facilities, physicians and patients. MORE
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Industry News


National Medicare Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 243 Individuals for Approximately $712 Million in False Billing
HHS News Release (06/18/15)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced today a nationwide sweep led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 17 districts, resulting in charges against 243 individuals, including 46 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $712 million in false billings. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also suspended a number of providers using its suspension authority as provided in the Affordable Care Act.
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Surge in Quality Scores Linked to Drop in Malpractice Claims
Health Leaders Media (06/10/2015) Ready, Tinker

The quality of hospital care may have just as much of an impact on malpractice claims as tort reform, research suggests. Examining a single health system with hospitals in both Texas and Louisiana researchers observed that the number of lawsuits dropped in the Texas hospitals after tort reform.
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Anthem Raises Offer for Cigna; Aetna Bids for Humana
Wall Street Journal (06/22/15) Cimilluca, Dana; Mattioli, Dana; Hoffman, Liz

A five-way takeover frenzy broke out into the open over the weekend, with Anthem Inc. taking its $47.5 billion bid to buy Cigna Corp. public in a contentious move that shows the pressure the big health insurers are under to quickly find merger partners. Anthem said Saturday it has offered $184 a share in cash and stock for Cigna, making the bid public to influence Cigna through its shareholders, according to a person familiar with the matter.
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Aetna Named as Latest Humana Suitor
Louisville Courier-Journal (06/22/15)

Aetna Inc. has made a takeover bid for Louisville-based health care giant Humana, increasing speculation that one of the city's biggest employers is about to change hands. The Wall Street Journal cited "people familiar with the matter" in reporting Saturday that Aetna, based in Hartford, Conn., had made the offer in the last few days.
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Meeting Surveillance and Epidemiology Challenges Is an Infection Prevention Imperative
Infection Control Today (06/19/15) Greene, Linda R.

Infection prevention is a constantly changing field. Tremendous challenges face the infection preventionist (IP), including new emerging and re-emerging diseases, antibiotic resistant organisms, serious, often life-threatening diseases such as C. difficile, public reporting of health care-associated infections (HAIs), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) policies to limit payment for hospital-acquired conditions and complications.
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Physicians Wary of Looming Mergers of Nation's 'Big Five' Health Insurers
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (06/19/15) Toland, Bill

While the nation's largest publicly traded health insurers continue an elaborate five-way mating dance, physicians groups worry that a winnowing of the carrier field will lead to lower payments for hospitals and higher premiums for patients. "Everybody should have serious concerns about that,” said Dennis Olmstead, chief strategy officer and medical economist at the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the state physicians' lobbying group.
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Survey Finds Provider ICD-10 Testing Lags
Health Data Management (06/15) Slabodkin, Greg

In the run-up to the October 1 ICD-10 deadline, many providers have completed key steps in the implementation process but still lag behind when it comes to testing, and most expect to continue managing the switchover after the deadline. Those are among the findings of a new eHealth Initiative survey in conjunction with the American Health Information Management Association.
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Tenet Healthcare Corporation Completes United Surgical Partners International and Aspen Healthcare Transactions
Business Wire (06/16/15)

Tenet Healthcare Corporation has completed its previously announced joint venture transaction with Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe that combines the short-stay surgery and imaging center assets of Tenet and United Surgical Partners International to create the leading U.S. short-stay surgery platform. "This joint venture significantly expands our ability to benefit from the growing demand for convenient, cost-efficient outpatient care and enhances our growth and earnings potential," said Trevor Fetter, Tenet's chairman and chief executive officer.
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Vast Data Warehouse Raises HealthCare.gov Privacy Concerns
Associated Press (06/15/15) Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo

A government data warehouse that stores personal information on millions of HealthCare.gov customers is raising privacy concerns at a time when major breaches have become distressingly common. A government privacy assessment dated Jan. 15 says data "is maintained indefinitely at this time," but the administration said Monday no final time frame has been decided, and the National Archives has recommended a 10-year retention period.
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AMA Takes Step to Further Protect Health Care Providers Following Shooting of Boston Surgeon
American Medical Association (06/09/2015)

Less than six months after a Boston cardiac surgeon was fatally shot by an individual with a suspected grudge, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted today in support of a study that would look at the various ways to prevent violence against health care providers while in the workplace. "It's imperative that health care providers feel safe and secure while caring for their patients," said AMA Board Chair Stephen R. Permut, M.D., J.D.
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Motion to Remove Hospital Certificate of Need Regulation Emerges
Orlando Business Journal (06/09/15) Williams, Rachel

A motion has been put forth by the House Health Innovation Subcommittee to remove the hospital certificate of need regulation in Florida, and Gov. Rick Scott supports it. The certificate of need regulates the amount of hospitals that can be built in the state because there must be proof that one is needed before construction can start.
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Researchers Explore How Human Behavior Leads to Surgical Errors
EndoNurse (06/02/15)

Mayo Clinic researchers identified 69 "never" events among 1.5 million invasive procedures performed over five years and detailed why each occurred. Using a system created to investigate military plane crashes, they coded the human behaviors involved to identify any environmental, organizational, job and individual characteristics that led to the never events.
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