ASCA News Digest (March 10, 2015)

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March 10, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


URGENT: More Than 50% of ASCs Still Need to Enroll in NHSN

ASCs are required to enroll with the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), managed by the CDC, in order to report data for ASC-8: Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel. According to the CDC, less than 50% of Medicare-certified ASCs centers have registered for NHSN to date. Enroll today—the registration process can take more than a month. The reporting deadline is May 15, 2015. 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.

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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ASCA 2015’s pre-meeting workshops can equip you with the tools and networking opportunities you need to help you run your ASC more efficiently and successfully. Make the most of your time in Orlando and register for one or more of the pre-meeting workshops on Wednesday, May 13. MORE
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When is the last time you reviewed every entry in your Policies & Procedures (P&P) manual? Get specific guidelines and tips to help you ensure that your ASC’s P&P manual complies with the latest regulations and is reviewed and recorded properly in the minutes of your ASC’s governing body during ASCA's next webinar on Tuesday, March 24 at 1:00 pm ET. MORE
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Over the past seven years, at least seven hospitals have reported outbreaks of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacterial infections associated with duodenoscopes used for Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures. ERCP procedures are used to treat and diagnose a variety of conditions of the gall bladder and pancreas, including ductal obstructions, stones, and malignancy. 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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To kick off March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (S. 624 / H.R. 1220) has been introduced in Congress. The legislation would correct an oversight in federal law that requires Medicare beneficiaries to cover the cost of their copayment for a “free” screening colonoscopy when a polyp is discovered and removed during the procedure. MORE
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Industry News


Physicians Want CMS to Beef Up ICD-10 Contingency Plans
Medscape (03/06/15) Ault, Alicia

One hundred state medical societies and specialty organizations are urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to flesh out contingency plans for the transition to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), code set. Led by the American Medical Association (AMA), the physician groups issued a list of concerns they said showed some major gaps in current contingency planning.
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ICD-10 Delay Soon Could be Back on Table
Health Data Management (03/09/2015) Goedert, Joseph

Congress during the month of March expects to once again attempt a permanent fix to the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula for reimbursing physicians, and a delay in the ICD-10 compliance date could be in the mix, just as it was last year when the date was moved to Oct. 1, 2015. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), chair of the House Rules Committee, "has been meeting with physicians and discussing how ICD-10 will affect all parties in the medical community," a spokesperson tells Health Data Management.
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FDA: Unapproved Duodenoscope OK to Use
MedPage Today (03/05/15) Gever, John

Although one of the duodenal endoscopes implicated in recent "superbug" infections was never cleared by the FDA, the agency said Wednesday that physicians should continue to use it because otherwise there wouldn't be enough devices available to meet patient needs. Also, the FDA pointed out that infections have occurred with other duodenoscopes that had been approved, reiterating that the designs of all these devices made them hard to disinfect thoroughly after use.
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Deadly Superbug-Related Scopes Sold Without FDA Approval
CNN (03/05/15) Cohen, Elizabeth

CNN has learned that the manufacturer of the endoscope involved in two superbug deaths at UCLA never obtained permission to sell the device, according to an official at the Food and Drug Administration. Olympus started selling its TJF-Q180V duodenoscope in 2010, but the FDA didn't notice until late 2013 or early 2014 that the company had never asked for clearance to put it on the market, according to Karen Riley, deputy director of strategy for the FDA's Office of External Affairs.
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CMS releases 2015 Quality Measures Report
Healio (03/03/2015)

CMS released the 2015 National Impact Assessment of Quality Measures Report, demonstrating that the nation has made significant progress in improving the health care delivery system to achieve better care, smarter spending and healthier people, the agency announced in a blog post. "This report is a comprehensive assessment of quality measures used by CMS," Patrick Conway, MD, deputy administrator for innovation and quality, and chief medical officer at CMS, wrote in the blog.
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U.S. Faces 90,000 Doctor Shortage by 2025, Medical School Association Warns
Washington Post (03/03/15) Bernstein, Lenny

The United States faces a shortage of as many as 90,000 physicians by 2025, including a critical need for specialists to treat an aging population that will increasingly live with chronic disease, the association that represents medical schools and teaching hospitals reported Tuesday. The nation's shortage of primary care physicians has received considerable attention in recent years, but the Association of American Medical Colleges report predicts that the greatest shortfall, on a percentage basis, will be in the demand for surgeons--especially those who treat diseases more common to older people, such as cancer.
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Outpatient and Hospital Employment Grows, But Nursing-Care Jobs Cut
Modern Healthcare (03/06/15) Herman, Bob

Health care employers added 23,800 jobs in February as physician offices and other ambulatory settings continued to propel the growth. However, the month-over-month job growth last month was the lowest total since September, when health care gained 22,600 jobs.
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Wichita Physicians Developing Free-Standing Heart, Surgery Center
Wichita Business Journal (03/04/15) Heck, Josh

A group of cardiologists are teaming up to build a free-standing heart and surgery center in northeast Wichita. The 8,000-square-foot facility will be located at 3555 N. Webb Road, a site near 34th Street North and Webb.
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This Doctor Posts His Prices Online. Health Care Should Move in Same Direction
Daily Signal (02/23/15) Grimsley, John

There’s a cost-cutting revolution going on in American health care. Anesthesiologist and co-founder of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, a physician-owned ambulatory surgery center, Dr. Keith Smith is at the epicenter of that revolution.
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Fitch: Healthcare Jobs Grew Faster in ACA Expansion States
Business Wire (02/19/2015)

The states that expanded health insurance access under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have seen substantially faster growth in health care jobs than those that did not since the first expansions began last January. If this trend continues, Fitch Ratings says it could support a broader economic and tax base for state budgets and improve nonprofit hospital finances in those states.
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'Patient-Centered Healthcare' Pilot for N.J. Workers Has Potential to Improve Care, Save Costs
Times of Trenton (NJ) (03/02/15) Dowling, Matt

Some 60,000 state workers would get the chance to joint a pilot program for a new type of health care under a proposal announced by Senate President Stephen Sweeney. Based on a model called "patient-centered healthcare," the voluntary program has several sit-up-and-take-notice components, including 24/7 access to a primary care physician, customized personal health care plans and--wait for it--no out-of-pocket costs for patients.
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