ASCA News Digest (March 3, 2015)

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March 3, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


Renew Your ASCA Membership by March 31

2014 ASCA memberships will expire on March 31. If your center’s membership is not renewed by March 31, you will lose access to important benefits, including ASCA's Medicare Rate Calculator, the weekly Government Affairs Update and discounts on ASCA meetings, webinars and educational resources. Make sure to renew your membership today. MORE
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  Improve Your Financial Strength with Surgical Notes! The largest management companies and over 20,000 healthcare providers trust Surgical Notes’ cutting edge revenue cycle management solutions and services to enhance the financial strength and performance of their ASCs. Maximize profits, accelerate revenue cycles, and increase efficiency with our scalable solutions including transcription, coding, document management, and electronic health records.

Prepare for a stress-free physical environment Life Safety Code survey during ASCA’s next webinar on Tuesday, March 10, at 1:00 pm ET. The program will identify and explore the physical environment compliance issues most likely to turn a survey-summation into a nightmare and set you on a path to avoid those issues in your facility. Register today. MORE
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Two Medicare payment resources has been updated to reflect changes that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last week: the 2015 Ancillary Services chart and the 2015 Separately Payable Procedures chart. MORE
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ASCA staff have been bombarded with questions and issues that ASCs have had enrolling with the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), which is required in order to report data for ASC-8. To help ASCA staff better help all of our members, please complete this very brief survey on NHSN enrollment. Please participate whether you’ve already enrolled or not. MORE
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New this year: ASCA 2015 will kick off with a General Session at 5:00 pm on Wednesday followed by the Welcome Reception in the exhibit hall at 6:30 pm. After a full day of education sessions, there will also be a Networking Reception in the exhibit hall on Thursday at 5:30 pm. And don’t miss out on this year’s Social Event at the Cuba Libre Rum Bar on Friday at 6:00 pm. MORE
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The deadline to request new continuing education certificates for all of 2014’s webinar recordings is March 31. Beginning April 1, only reprints of existing certificates will be available for the prior year’s recordings. MORE
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A recent recommendation by the Measure Applications Partnership means there is a reasonable possibility that CMS will include two new quality measures in its proposed ASC payment rule this summer. The two measures, Unplanned Anterior Vitrectomy and Normothermia, received conditional support from the group that they be included in CMS’ ASC Quality Reporting Program. MORE
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ASCs can now submit data for quality measures ASC-6, ASC-7, ASC-9 and ASC-10 directly to CMS’ QualityNet site. At this time, only numerical values greater than zero can be entered for ASC-9 and ASC-10. The tool will be fully functional and will allow users to enter zeros for ASC-9 and ASC-10 in the near future. The data submission period will close on August 15. MORE
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ASCA will be launching a revamped Salary and Benefits Survey this summer. The new survey, which collects national and regional data on 20 ASC positions, will provide users with personalized graphical reports and countless options for data comparison to create the most meaningful reports possible. MORE
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The US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee voted last week to approve the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 (H.R. 887), an historic achievement for the ASC industry during this time of legislative inaction in Washington, DC. MORE
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Industry News


CMS Touts Success of ICD-10 End-to-End Testing
Health Data Management (02/15) Slabodkin, Greg

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced that providers, clearinghouses, and billing agencies for the most part successfully participated in the first ICD-10 end-to-end testing week. The testing, conducted January 26 to February 3, included 661 providers as well as all Medicare Administrative Contractors and the Durable Medical Equipment MAC Common Electronic Data Interchange contractor, with billing companies submitting nearly 15,000 test claims.
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Doctors Say Data Fees Are Blocking Health Reform
Politico (02/23/15) Allen, Arthur

As they move to exchange patient information with hospitals and other health care partners, doctors are suffering sticker shock: The vendors of the health care software want thousands of dollars to unlock the data so they can be shared. It may take an act of Congress to provide relief.
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Should Patients Be Permitted to Record Doctor Visits?
Medscape (02/17/15) Chesanow, Neil

How would you feel about a patient producing a smartphone and recording his or her visit with you? What if the patient made that recording without your knowledge?
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Companies' Tests Used in 'Superbug' Scope Cleaning Flawed: FDA
Reuters (03/02/15) Clarke, Toni

Manufacturers' tests of procedures to clean medical scopes linked with "superbug" outbreaks contained flaws that render their cleaning instructions unreliable, according to a senior official with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The scopes were linked to the exposure of 179 patients to drug-resistant bacteria at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles and may have contributed to two deaths.
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Fines Remain Rare Even as Health Data Breaches Multiply
NPR Online (02/27/15) Ornstein, Charles

In a string of meetings and press releases, the federal government's health watchdogs have delivered a stern message: They are cracking down on insurers, hospitals and doctors offices that don't adequately protect the security and privacy of medical records. "We've now moved into an area of more assertive enforcement," Leon Rodriguez, then-director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights, warned at a privacy and security forum in December 2012.
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Major Insurers Are Finally Revealing One of Health-Care's Greatest Mysteries
Washington Post (02/25/15) Millman, Jason

The obscure, seemingly random universe of health-care pricing is getting a little less opaque today. Some of the country's largest health insurers are coming together to reveal the prices they pay for dozens of medical services across the country in an effort to help consumers become savvier shoppers.
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Tips for Handling Medical Expenses That Hit Before Patients Pay Insurance Deductibles
Associated Press (03/01/15) Murphy, Tom

The clock on insurance deductibles reset Jan. 1, and that means big medical bills are in store for some. Patients could be required to pay thousands of dollars before their health care coverage kicks in.
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Perioperative Surgical Home Promotes Perioperativists
Anesthesiology News (02/19/15) Dunleavy, Brian

What's in a name? Everything to proponents of the American Society of Anesthesiologists' (ASA) concept of the Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH), which sees the anesthesiologists' role in the surgical suite morphing into that of a "perioperativist."
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Biggest U.S. Health Insurer Tightens Rules on Hysterectomy Coverage
Wall Street Journal (02/26/15) Levitz, Jennifer; Kamp, Jon

The nation's largest health insurer is imposing tighter controls on its coverage for hysterectomies after more than a year of debate over a medical device that was found to spread hidden cancer in some women undergoing the procedure. As of April, UnitedHealth Group Inc. will require doctors to obtain authorization from the insurer before performing most types of hysterectomies, according to a bulletin sent to physicians and hospitals.
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New Council Formed to Rid the World's Operating Environments of Surgical Smoke Plumes
Infection Control Today (02/26/15)

Surgical smoke plume is a hazardous byproduct of operative procedures known to contain harmful gases, minute particles, and microorganisms. Inhalation of this plume by clinicians and patients has been well documented as a hazard to their health and well-being.
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