ASCA News Digest (March 24, 2015)

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March 24, 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.

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. Early registration discounts end next Friday, April 3. Register today and join us in Orlando to network with your peers, exchange best practices and discuss marketplace trends that could have immediate and long-term implications for your ASC. MORE
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Last week, Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and John Larson (D-CT) introduced the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act of 2015 (H.R. 1453), which is intended to preserve patient access to the high quality, cost-effective health care services that ASCs provide. The legislation has already experienced extensive support, including 24 original cosponsors. 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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Recent clinical evidence sheds new light on current assumptions about patient safety and reprocessed endoscopes. Find out why some medical equipment experts are challenging the generally accepted idea that the risk for pathogen transmission is very rare as long as there are no lapses in adherence to current reprocessing protocols and examine the clinical evidence behind the new school of thought on this essential practice during ASCA's next webinar on Tuesday, April 7 at 1:00 pm ET. 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. In addition, the 2013 webinar recordings are no longer available for purchase. MORE
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March 31 is the last day of data collection for ASC-8: Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel for CMS’ ASC Quality Reporting Program. ASCs are required to enroll with the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) to report data for ASC-8. Enroll today if you haven't already—the registration process can take more than a month. 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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MedPAC released its March report and recommended a zero percent update on ASC 2016 Medicare payments. MedPAC recommended a zero percent update for most other providers and even recommended a reduction for skilled nursing facilities. However, MedPAC recommended that hospital outpatient departments and inpatient hospitals receive a 3.25 percent increase. MORE
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Industry News


Tenet Creates Joint Venture to Form Largest U.S. Ambulatory Surgery Provider
St. Louis Business Journal (03/23/15) Brennan, Vince

Tenet Healthcare Corp., which operates Saint Louis University Hospital and Des Peres Hospital locally, has announced a deal with United Surgical Partners International to combine their ambulatory and short-stay surgery centers. The deal, which Tenet said would create the largest ambulatory service provider in the U.S. with 244 centers, 16 short-stay hospitals and 20 imaging centers, also gives Tenet the option to buy USPI over the next five years.
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Long-Sought 'Doc Fix' Funding Agreement Reached
Wall Street Journal (03/19/15) Hughes, Siobhan

House Republican and Democratic leaders Thursday rolled out legislation to permanently fix a formula for calculating Medicare reimbursements to doctors and other health-care providers, a deal supporters say will stand a chance of passage given its bipartisan support. The legislation, set for a floor vote next week, would replace the current formula, which was established by a 1997 budget law that tied pay increases for doctors and other providers to increases in economic growth.
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Clinical-Data Theft Could Prove Problematic for Premera
Modern Healthcare (03/18/15) Ruberfine, Adam

The cyberattack against Premera Blue Cross disclosed this week affects significantly fewer people than this year's Anthem hack, but the value of the information exposed could pose a bigger threat to the insurer. Premera discovered in January that a May 2014 cyberattack breached a system holding 11 million people's records, the company announced on Tuesday.
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ICD-10 Transition Poses Problems for ICD-9 Translation
Health Leaders Media (03/18/2015) Commins, John

The transition to the ICD-10 diagnostic code set on Oct. 1 will complicate financial and clinical forecasting and analyses that also rely upon data compiled under the outmoded ICD-9 code, researchers say. "Everything from staffing levels to payment and even protecting margins, all of this is based on the ICD-9 codes," says Andrew Boyd, assistant professor of biomedical and health information sciences at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
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Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services Announce Over $27.8 Billion in Returns From Joint Efforts to Combat Health Care Fraud
HHS News Release (03/19/15)

More than $27.8 billion has been returned to the Medicare Trust Fund over the life of the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC) Program, Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today. The government's health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts recovered $3.3 billion in taxpayer dollars in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 from individuals and companies that attempted to defraud federal health programs, including programs serving seniors, persons with disabilities or those with low incomes.
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Reprocessing Medical Devices in Health Care Settings
Food and Drug Administration (03/17/15)

This guidance provides recommendations for the formulation and scientific validation of reprocessing instructions for reusable medical devices. This guidance document also provides recommendations for the content and review of premarket notification submissions [510(k)], premarket approval (PMA) applications, humanitarian device exemption (HDE) applications, de novo requests and investigational device exemption (IDE) applications, concerning the labeling instructions for reprocessing reusable medical devices.
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Bill Would End Certificate-of-Need Requirement for Some Facilities
Winston-Salem Journal (NC) (03/12/15) Craver, Richard

A bipartisan bill would exempt several types of medical facilities from needing a certificate of need to begin or expand operations. A certificate is currently required before a health-care system or provider can build a medical facility, buy equipment or offer a medical procedure.
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Nonprofit Teams Up With Kaiser Permanente Volunteers to Give Free Surgery to the Uninsured
Marin Independent Journal (CA) (03/21/15) May, Patrick

Efrain Santos, an undocumented construction worker, looked relatively relaxed Saturday morning, considering he was about to be splayed across an operating table in the next room. And even though he would soon be undergoing a surgical procedure for a lymph node biopsy, Santos still knew that this was his lucky day.
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Happy Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
American Gastroenterological Association (03/05/15)

March is a great time to raise patient awareness of colorectal cancer screening. The decrease in colorectal cancer deaths is a public health success story, and gastroenterologists need to continue the momentum to get 80 percent of eligible patients screened by 2018.
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Health Care Analyst Wants to Bring Price Transparency to North Texas
Dallas Morning News (03/09/15) Landers, Jim

It was just after 5 p.m., and traffic was stopped for a red light on Oak Lawn Avenue. A motorist flicked a cigarette out the window of a blue sedan.
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Study Suggests Lack of Internal Data Protection Leaving U.S. Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Companies Vulnerable
Globe Newswire (03/04/15)

As more and more private consumer data leaked from health care companies turns up on the black market, a recent survey suggests that more than half of U.S. health care and pharmaceutical employees believe that their organizations do not place a high priority on the protection of sensitive data. According to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department for Civil Rights, there have been more than 290 public disclosures of major health data breaches in the U.S. over the past two years.
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