ASCA News Digest (March 17, 2015)

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March 17, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


Join Us in Louisville for ASCA's 2015 Fall Seminar

Save the date for ASCA’s 2015 Fall Seminar, October 8 – 10, 2015, at the Louisville Marriott Downtown in Louisville, Kentucky. The 2015 Fall Seminar will offer educational sessions on key topics that drive development and daily operations at your ASC, lively networking opportunities and continuing education contact hours. 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.

Learn what your ASC needs to do to ensure that its policy and procedure manual is current and compliant at all times during ASCA's next webinar on Tuesday, March 24, at 1:00 pm ET. Examine the requirements that accreditation surveyors and state and federal officials expect ASCs to meet in this area and steps your ASC can take to meet them. MORE
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Register today for ASCA 2015, May 13-16 in Orlando. ASCA 2015 promises to be the largest and most comprehensive industry event of the year. Watch a short video to hear what last year’s attendees had to say about the meeting. Early registration discounts end Friday, April 3. ASCA members receive a discounted rate and can enjoy additional savings by sending more than one attendee. MORE
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The data collection period for the first quarter (Q1) of the 2015 ASCA Benchmarking Program will open on April 1. The 2015 survey features completely new financial measures questions and new CPT code ranges have been added to the volume section. ASCA members can take advantage of steep subscription discounts. MORE
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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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The recording of ASCA's recent webinar, "CMS’ Interpretive Guidelines: How to Comply with Recent Changes," is now available to download. The recording is free for ASCA members and $50 for nonmembers. Members can view the recording by logging into ASCA's Learning Center, scrolling over “My Account” in the navigation bar and then clicking on “My Content.” MORE
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Read the latest issue of ASC Focus magazine to learn about fine tuning your IT investments, using IT to demonstrate quality, packaged services, NCCI edits and clinical informatics. ASC Focus is the official magazine of ASCA and members receive a free subscription as part of their association membership. MORE
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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and ASCA contributed by working with colorectal cancer screening advocate US Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) to produce a public service announcement on preventive screenings. In addition, Congress introduced the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (S. 624 / H.R. 1220). MORE
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Enrollment is still open for the 5th cohort of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Safety Program for Ambulatory Surgery and will continue until the program begins on March 30. This program will focus on effectively implementing a surgical safety checklist as a means of reducing infections and complications. MORE
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The FDA published a final guidance on reprocessing reusable medical devices. This guidance is a step toward further reducing the risk of patient infection by providing manufacturers with recommendations to validate their reprocessing instructions to ensure devices remain safe and effective for reuse. MORE
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ASCs are required to enroll with the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), managed by the Centers for Drug Control and Prevention (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 have registered for NHSN to date. MORE
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Industry News


New Bill May Alter Meaningful Use Among ASCs
EHR Intelligence (03/11/2015) Gruessner, Vera

Ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs)--medical facilities that offer same-day surgeries as well as diagnostic and preventive care--do not have the same benefits as other health care institutions since there are no EHR products certified specifically for ASCs. Normally this would severely limit their ability to meet at least half of the meaningful use requirements and lead to a payment penalty.
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Congress Explores Longer-Term Solution for Medicare Physician Payments
Wall Street Journal (03/11/15) Peterson, Kristina; Radnofsky, Louise

Congressional leaders are discussing ways permanently to end the recurring scramble to avoid cuts in Medicare payments to physicians, lawmakers and aides said on Wednesday. House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), and the leaders of several House committees are looking for ways to solve the perennial problem known as “doc fix” before the latest short-term patch expires at month’s end, aides said.
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Public Health Impact of Achieving 80% Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates in the United States by 2018
Cancer (03/15) Meester, Reinier G.S.; Doubeni, Chyke A.; Zauber, Ann G.; et al.

The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a national coalition of public, private, and voluntary organizations, has recently announced an initiative to increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates in the United States to 80 percent by 2018. The authors evaluated the potential public health benefits of achieving this goal.
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Initiative Launched to Increase Colonoscopy Screenings in Memphis
Memphis Daily News (03/13/15) Meek, Andy

A new initiative is underway to curb colon cancer deaths in Memphis by increasing colonoscopy screenings, an effort timed to coincide with March's status as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. joined staff members of Mid-South Gastroenterology Group Wednesday to launch Dr. Phillip Bowden’s 100 percent by 2020 Campaign.
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Integrated Delivery Networks: Is the Whole Less Than Sum of the Parts?
Modern Healthcare (03/07/15) Goldsmith, Jeff; Burns, Lawton R.

For the past four decades, there has been one dominant theme in health care delivery-system reform: Hospitals and physicians must transform themselves into comprehensive-care enterprises to be paid a population-based global budget. In the vision of pioneering health policy researchers Paul Ellwood Jr. and Alain Enthoven, consumers should choose among multiple Kaiser-like entities competing based on premium (e.g., total cost of care).
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Physician Practice Consolidation Picking Up Across Michigan
Crain's Detroit Business (03/15/15) Greene, Jay

The national trend of solo- or small-practice physicians moving into employment with medical groups or hospitals for economies of scale and managed care contracting is starting to pick up in Michigan, several experts told Crain's. "The complexities of practice today, especially the substantial shifts in payment methodology, militate against small offices," said Jeff Margolis, M.D., president of Michigan Healthcare Professionals PC, the area's youngest multi-specialty medical group with 360 physicians in more than 100 practice locations.
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Bill That Aims to Reform North Carolina Surgeries Hits Lawmaker Floor
Triangle Business Journal (03/11/15) DeBruyn, Jason

A proposed law to bring major changes to surgery centers in North Carolina hit the legislative floor Wednesday. Already, House Bill 200 was referred to three committees, a sign that lawmakers will take it seriously.
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New Legislation Expands Access to Surgical Recovery Care Across Florida
PR Newswire (03/10/15)

The following is being released by Floridians for Better Community Care: Florida patients and families who seek surgical care in the state's ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) could soon benefit from improved recovery times under new legislation (HB 999, SB 1394) introduced in Tallahassee--a measure which would also lower health care costs across the state by preventing avoidable admissions to higher cost health care settings following surgery. The new policy, sponsored by Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (R-78) and Senator Audrey Gibson (D-9) would revise an outdated Florida law requiring that surgical patients in ASCs be discharged by close of business, or otherwise face admission to a hospital.
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Health Care Cost Institute Launches Healthcare Transparency Tool
Health IT Outcomes (03/09/2015) Kern, Christine

The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization, has launched guroo.com, a website designed to provide a health care cost transparency tool to consumers. Based on more than 40 million insured individuals' claims over multiple insurance carriers, the site promises to provide information that no other source can provide, to deliver national, state, and local cost information for common health conditions and services, according to a press release.
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Don't Like ICD-10? Don't Worry -- ICD-11 Is on the Horizon
MedPage Today (03/02/15) Frieden, Joyce

As U.S. physicians gear up to put the ICD-10 coding system in place by the upcoming Oct. 1 deadline, work is being done elsewhere on the coding system's next-generation product: ICD-11. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), which coordinates implementation of the coding system, "ICD is currently under revision, through an ongoing Revision Process, and the release date for ICD-11 is 2017."
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Obamacare, Private Medicare Plans Must Keep Updated Doctor Directories in 2016
Kaiser Health News (03/09/15) Jaffe, Susan

Starting next year, the federal government will require health insurers to give millions of Americans enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans or in policies sold in the federally run health exchange up-to-date details about which doctors are in their plans and taking new patients. Medicare Advantage plans and most exchange plans restrict coverage to a network of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers that can change during the year.
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Medical Device ID Effort Hits Snag
Wall Street Journal (03/10/15) Burton, Thomas M.

The ideal way to protect the public from hazardous medical devices, the Food and Drug Administration says, is a brand-specific identification number on devices like implanted heart defibrillators and artificial hips. If one goes haywire, the thinking goes, doctors can quickly tap large insurance databases to find out whether the malfunction was rare—or part of a broader public-health threat. Further implants would be stopped before the faulty device is widely used.
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