ASCA News Digest (March 31, 2015)

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March 31, 2015





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ASCA Highlights


Early Registration Ends Friday for ASCA 2015

Early registration discounts for ASCA 2015, May 13–16 in Orlando, end this Friday, April 3. Register today. ASCA members receive a discounted rate and can enjoy additional savings by sending more than one attendee. Once you register for the meeting, reserve your hotel room at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center. Special room rates are available for ASCA 2015 attendees. MORE
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The data collection period for the first quarter (Q1) 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 April 30. The 2015 survey features a completely revamped Financial Measures section with brand new questions. MORE
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Today is the last for ASCA members to renew their membership for 2015. Renewing will allow you to continue receiving member benefits including ASCA's Medicare Rate Calculator, the weekly Government Affairs Update and discounts on ASCA meetings, webinars and educational resources. If your center’s membership is not renewed by the end of the day, you will lose access to these important benefits. MORE
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Explore new clinical findings about the risks of infection related to flexible endoscope reprocessing and what your ASC should be doing to reduce this risk during ASCA's next webinar on Tuesday, April 7, at 1:00 pm ET. Get practical suggestions for ways to implement quality improvement measures that help address the risk of acquiring an endoscopy-associated infection due to lapses in reprocessing. 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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  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.

Today is the last day to request new continuing education certificates for all of 2014’s webinar recordings. Beginning tomorrow, 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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Today 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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In a follow-up to the March 10 announcement of the Next Generation ACO Model of payment and care delivery, the CMS Innovation Center will host several open door forums focusing on various aspects of the Model. The next open door forum, scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 4pm EDT, will focus on financial methodology. MORE
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Last week, the US House of Representatives passed legislation to permanently repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and replace it with a more stable, value-based payment system for Medicare physicians. This is an historic achievement after twelve years of short-term patches, and a rare show of bipartisan support with a vote of 392 in favor and 37 opposed. MORE
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Industry News


Tenet-USPI Deal Will Spur More ASC Consolidation
Modern Healthcare (03/25/15) Kutscher, Beth

The fragmented ambulatory surgery center sector is ripe for consolidation and likely will see more such activity soon, thanks to Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s recent deal to buy United Surgical Partners International. Dallas-based Tenet has been ahead of the game in building its outpatient business portfolio, but other providers could soon follow, experts said.
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House Approves Bill on Changes to Medicare
New York Times (03/27/15) Steinhauer, Jennifer; Pear, Robert

The House overwhelmingly approved sweeping changes to the Medicare program on Thursday in the most significant bipartisan policy legislation to pass through that chamber since Republicans regained a majority in 2011. The measure, which would establish a new formula for paying doctors, increase premiums for some Medicare beneficiaries and extend a popular health insurance program for children, has already been endorsed by President Obama and awaits a vote in the Senate.
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Obama Promotes Health-Care Payments Based on Outcome, Not Volume
Wall Street Journal (03/25/15) Armour, Stephanie

Paying doctors, hospitals and other providers for improved care rather than treatment volume will benefit patients and lower U.S. health-care spending, President Barack Obama said Wednesday. As the Affordable Care Act reaches milestones in expanding coverage--nearly 11.7 million people had signed up through late February--the Obama Administration is turning its focus to revamping the way providers and health systems are paid.
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OIG Presses CMS to Cut Hospital Payments for Surgeries on Low-Risk Outpatients
Modern Healthcare (03/17/15) Schenker, Lisa

HHS' Office of Inspector General is using a congressionally mandated report to repeat its call for Medicare to pay hospitals the same as it pays ambulatory surgery centers for procedures on low-risk patients. But the CMS and hospital trade groups think the OIG is on the wrong track.
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PCPs Need to Push Colorectal Cancer Screening
MedPage Today (03/29/15) Filer, Wanda D.

Every year, more than 140,000 U.S. adults have newly diagnosed colorectal cancer, the nation's second-leading cause of cancer deaths. Those statistics are startling enough, but what makes them even more troubling is that all over the country, patients miss out on potentially life-saving screenings.
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A Faster, Better, Cheaper Path to Filling the Doctor Shortage
Forbes (03/16/15) Conover, Chris

Recent headlines at RealClearPolitics tell the story: Health Law Amplifies Primary Care Doctor Shortage and Medicaid Growth May Aggravate Doctor Shortage. And a recent companion piece at RealClearPolicy reminds us the problem is not limited to primary care doctors: The Physician Specialty Shortage.
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Details and Context of New Payment Models Are Critical to Efforts of Physician Practices to Improve Care, Study Finds
American Medical Association News Release (03/19/15)

Physician practices are engaging in new health care payment models intended to improve quality and reduce costs, but are finding that they need help with successfully managing increasing amounts of data and figuring out how to respond to the diversity of programs and quality metrics from different payers, according to a new joint study by the RAND Corporation and the American Medical Association. Both the federal government and private payers are changing the way they pay physicians and other health professionals, moving to innovative models intended to improve quality and reduce costs.
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Despite High Rates Of Nursing Injuries, Government Regulators Take Little Action
NPR Online (03/24/15) Zwerdling, Daniel

Just about everybody who has studied the hospital industry agrees that it needs to confront the epidemic that plagues many of its staff: Tens of thousands of nursing employees suffer debilitating injuries every year, mainly from doing part of their everyday jobs--moving and lifting patients. The problem is, nobody agrees how to get hospitals to take aggressive action.
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Here's How Much Medical Procedures Cost in Different Cities
Gawker.com (03/17/15) Nolan, Hamilton

America's health care system has many problems. One is the fact that it is incredibly difficult to know how much things cost.
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Multi-Center Colonoscopy Quality Measurement Utilizing Natural Language Processing
American Journal of Gastroenterology (03/15) Imler, Timothy D.; Morea, Justin; Kahi, Charles

An accurate system for tracking of colonoscopy quality and surveillance intervals could improve the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening and surveillance. The purpose of this study was to create and test such a system across multiple institutions utilizing natural language processing (NLP).
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Google, Johnson & Johnson Join Forces on Surgical Robot Technology
eWeek (03/30/15) Vijayan, Jaikumar

In the latest example of just how varied its interests have become, Google has entered into a collaborative agreement with Johnson & Johnson to develop surgical robots and improve information delivery to surgeons during operations. Under the agreement, announced March 27, Google's Life Sciences Team will work with Ethicon, a medical device subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson to develop technology designed to aid surgeons, patients and the health care system overall, Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.
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