ASCA News Digest (June 30, 2015)

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June 30, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


Last Day to Submit Data for Free Salary Survey

Today is the last day to enter data for ASCA’s FREE Salary and Benefits Survey. The survey is an important tool for ASCs to stay competitive and retain and attract the best employees. Make sure to answer at least 50% of the questions, otherwise you will have to purchase the personalized graphical reports, which will be available in July. MORE
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If you attended ASCA 2015 in Orlando, today is the deadline 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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Get an update on how the impending ICD-10 deadline will affect your ASC and review current documentation practices and contingency plans in force today that may need to be fine-tuned or overhauled for tomorrow during ASCA’s upcoming webinar on Thursday, July 9. AAPC credit is available. Cristina Bentin, president of Coding Compliance Management, LLC, will take a hard look at the current forms/templates that in use and how to use them, with an eye toward how they might slow or halt reimbursement in the future. 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.


The data collection period for the second quarter (Q2) of the 2015 ASCA Benchmarking Program opens tomorrow. Subscribers will receive an email alerting them when they can begin to submit data. The collection period will close July 31. ASCA members can purchase a subscription for $299 and receive the Q1 national report for free. 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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Start your candidate search with a more targeted approach and reach high-quality candidates through the ASCA Career Center and our alliance with the National Healthcare Career Network (NHCH). Advantages include easy online job listing management, email notifications when job seekers match your criteria, member discounts, multiple job posting packages and more. Visit the Career Center and start your search today! MORE
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The US Supreme Court announced its decision in King v. Burwell today, ruling that insurance premium subsidies created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can continue to be distributed in all states. Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the Court’s majority opinion, wrote that the subsidies “are necessary for the federal exchanges to function like their state exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.” MORE
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Industry News


Supreme Court Allows Nationwide Healthcare Subsidies
New York Times (06/26/15) Liptak, Adam

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Obama's health care law allows the federal government to provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance, a sweeping vindication that endorsed the larger purpose of Mr. Obama's signature legislative achievement. The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017.
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DOJ Girds for Strict Review of Any Health-Insurer Mergers
Wall Street Journal (06/29/15) Kendall, Brent; Mathews, Anna Wilde

The Justice Department is gearing up for an exacting look at any proposed mergers among the nation's top health-insurance companies, amid questions inside and outside the department about whether industry consolidation could suppress competition. The five biggest health insurers have been circling one another for potential deals.
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Ambulatory Surgery Centers Play Important But Shifting Role in NJ Healthcare
NJ Spotlight (06/21/15) Kitchenman, Andrew

Industry, traditionally run by doctors, trends away from standalone, out-of-network operations toward mergers with hospitals. Ambulatory surgery centers have long been predominantly doctor-owned and independent from hospitals, but this is rapidly changing as the industry increasingly moves to merge with hospitals.
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Connecticut Surgery Centers Worried About Tax Proposal
Associated Press (06/24/15) Haigh, Susan

Operators of surgery centers across Connecticut are working to persuade state lawmakers to scrap a new tax in the Democratic budget they claim will prompt some facilities to close. The centers provide colonoscopies, cataract removal and other outpatient procedures.
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Many Physicians Still Unprepared for ICD-10
Medscape (06/22/15) Terry, Ken

With less than 4 months to go before the October 1, 2015, transition to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 diagnostic coding, many hospitals and physician practices have taken many of the necessary steps toward implementation, but still lag behind in a crucial part of the process—testing. According to an eHealth Initiative (eHI) survey conducted in conjunction with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), just 17 percent of physician practices have conducted test transactions with payers and clearinghouses, and only 5 percent have completed internal testing.
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U.S. Suffering From Prescription Drug Shortage
San Francisco Chronicle (06/23/15) Colliver, Victoria

Drug shortages have turned into a nationwide chronic condition. Disruptions in production, safety recalls, difficulties finding key raw ingredients, shifts in demand, and decisions to discontinue certain products are just some of the reasons pharmaceutical makers give for not having enough supply.
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How Health Plans With High Deductibles Became the New Normal
Boston Globe (06/25/15) Cliff, Betsy

Health plans with high deductibles are the fastest growing type of health insurance in the United States. More than a quarter of employers provide this kind of plan for their employees, and, last year, they made up 85 percent of all plans sold on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges.
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House Votes to Kill Health Law's Medicare Savings Panel
Associated Press (06/24/15) Fram, Alan

The House voted Tuesday to kill a federal panel that is supposed to find ways to curb Medicare spending, as Republicans ignored a veto threat and leveled their latest blow at President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Members of the Independent Payment Advisory Board have never been appointed, and the panel has never recommended savings from Medicare, the $600-billion-a-year health care program for the elderly.
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Insurers Gaming Medicare Might Cost Washington Billions a Year
Bloomberg (06/23/15) Tozzi, John

Two years ago, Anita Silingo accused health insurance companies of brazenly ripping off the government. Silingo, who worked at a company called MedXM that consulted for health insurance companies, filed a sealed whistleblower lawsuit claiming that MedXM exaggerated or outright fabricated illnesses to get its clients higher fees from Medicare.
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Study Reveals Hidden Costs of Reconciling Surgical Sponge Counts
General Surgery News (06/17/15) Bufano, Paul

The annualized cost of searching for missing sponges and ruling out the presence of a retained sponge using radiography was $218,328 at a Level 1 trauma center, according to results of a study presented at the 2015 Surgical Conference & Expo of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). Additionally, complications of a retained sponge include reoperation, infection or sepsis, readmission/prolonged hospital stay, fistulas/bowel obstructions, visceral perforation and death, according to the poster.
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FDA Takes Action to Protect Consumers From Potentially Dangerous Counterfeit Medicines and Devices Sold Online
FDA News Release (06/18/15)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, took action this week against more than 1,050 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription medicines and medical devices to consumers. These actions include the issuance of regulatory warnings to the operators of offending websites and seizure of illegal medicines and medical devices worldwide.
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