ASCA News Digest (November 17, 2015)

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November 17, 2015

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  • What does the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 mean for your ASC? Understand the implications with this Q&A with Heather Ashby of ASCA.
  • Click here to learn about some of the biggest challenges facing ASCs with Todd Logan, National VP of Sales, AmkaiSolutions.
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ASCA Highlights


ASCA 2016 Registration Now Open

Registration is now available for ASCA 2016, Thursday to Sunday, May 19—22, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. You can learn more about the meeting and register on the ASCA 2016 website.

ASCA 2016 will feature more than 60 educational sessions to help you strategically position your ASC for success as well as multiple opportunities to network and exchange best practices with other ASC professionals from around the country.

ASCA members receive a discounted rate and can save even more by registering multiple attendees at the same time.
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ASCA's 2016 Final Medicare Rate Calculator is now available. This members-only resource shows your national and local payment rates for 2016. Simply look up your local wage index from the easy-to-use chart and type it into the calculator. The calculator does the rest. ASCA's in-depth analyses of the final 2016 ASC and physician payment rules are available as well.
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Register for ASCA’s 2016 Winter Coding Seminar, January 14-16, 2016, in Scottsdale, Arizona. This comprehensive program will cover coding tips for commonly performed ASC procedures, assessing coding accuracy and productivity, CPT changes that will take effect in 2016, ICD-10 issues, best practices and more. Attendees will be awarded up to 17.75 units of AEU credit from BASC. Register before December 1 for $100 off the cost of registration.
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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.

AW0275-MedIQ CME/CE Webcast: Selecting Intraoperative Opioids

Watch this CME/CE Webcast, sponsored by Med-IQ, to explore strategies that address the challenges of balancing cost, safety, and efficacy when selecting short-acting intravenous opioid anesthesia regimens. This activity also presents insights on effective communication among anesthesiologists, CRNAs, and hospital-based pharmacists regarding patient needs and economic factors. WATCH TODAY


Renew your ASCA membership through ASCA's new online portal using a credit card or check by December 31 to receive 10 percent off an ASCA Benchmarking subscription.

If you have questions concerning membership renewal, contact Renee Harris-Etheridge at 703.636.0609 or rharris@ascassociation.org.
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With patients becoming increasingly involved in their health care choices and having a greater number of options for where to receive care, ASCs need a strong Internet presence now more than ever. Read tips on how to create a great web site and see examples from other ASCs in the latest issue of ASC Focus magazine.
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ASCA offers a collection of 21 courses, designed specifically for ASCs, to help train ASC staff on the latest regulations and standards of care. Sixteen of the interactive courses provide continuing education (CE) credit.
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Attend ASCA’s next webinar, "Understanding Medicare’s 2016 Final Payment Rule," on Tuesday, December 1, at 1:00 pm ET to get the final word on the changes to Medicare’s ASC payment system taking effect next year. ASCA Regulatory Counsel Kara Newbury will discuss the new payment rates, procedures added to the final list of those eligible to be performed on Medicare patients in the ASC setting, and how other policy changes will impact ASC payments. Register today.
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The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released its 2016 Work Plan. OIG conducts audits, investigations and evaluations to improve the efficiency of HHS programs and combat fraud, abuse and waste. The Work Plan summarizes new and ongoing OIG projects and provides advance notice to the industry, policymakers and the public.
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ASCA’s Regulatory Counsel Kara Newbury will speak at the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association of Illinois (ASCAI) Annual Meeting on December 9 in Chicago, Illinois.
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Industry News


Dirty Endoscopes Top ECRI Institute's 2016 Technology Hazards List
ECRI Institute (11/09/2015)

Every year hospitals are blindsided and patients are harmed by unexpected health technology hazards. Medical technology is intended to improve patient care, but even the best of technology—if configured, used, or maintained improperly—can lead to problems.
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FDA Orders Recall Under Consent Decree for All Custom Ultrasonics Automated Endoscope Reprocessors
FDA News Release (11/13/15)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today ordered Custom Ultrasonics to recall all of its automated endoscope reprocessors (AERs) from health care facilities due to the firm's continued violations of federal law and a consent decree entered with the company in 2007. The identified violations could result in an increased risk of infection transmission.
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Many Say High Deductibles Make Affordable Care Act Plans Nearly Useless
New York Times (11/15/15) Pear, Robert

Obama administration officials, urging people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, have trumpeted the low premiums available on the law’s new marketplaces. But for many consumers, the sticker shock is coming not on the front end, when they purchase the plans, but on the back end when they get sick: sky-high deductibles that are leaving some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage.
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Patients OK With Secure Web Portals for Test Results
Reuters (11/13/15) Rapaport, Lisa

Of all the ways for patients to receive their medical test results, one option--password-protected websites--appears to be preferred much of the time, a study suggests. U.S. researchers surveyed about 400 adults and found they were generally comfortable with web portals regardless of how sensitive the test results might be.
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Choice in Colon Cancer Screening Linked to More Regular Testing
Reuters (11/12/15) Rapaport, Lisa

People may be more likely to get colorectal cancer screenings when doctors let them choose what type of test to have, a U.S. study suggests. Researchers focused on two widely used screenings.
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Study: Post Hospital Syndrome Is Significant Risk Factor for Patients Undergoing Elective Surgery
News-Medical.net (11/11/2015)

A condition known as "post hospital syndrome" (PHS) is a significant risk factor for patients who undergo elective outpatient surgery, a Loyola study has found. PHS is defined as having been hospitalized during the previous 90 days.
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Doctors Group Urges DOJ to Block Insurer Mergers
The Hill (11/11/15) Sullivan, Peter

The country's leading doctors group is urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to block two proposed mergers between health insurance companies, arguing they would harm patients and reduce competition. The American Medical Association (AMA) made the argument in a letter to the DOJ on Wednesday raising objections to Aetna's acquisition of Humana and Anthem's acquisition of Cigna.
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Geisinger Creates Warranty Program for Health Care
Central Penn Business Journal (11/11/15) Ruhl, Lenay

Geisinger Health System unveiled a new program this week that will place a money-back warranty on its health care treatment. The program, ProvenExperience, will offer a refund to patients whose expectations aren't met by the health system.
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Cigna Collaborates With Chicago Area Physicians to Improve Health and Lower Costs
Business Wire (11/10/15)

Cigna has entered into collaborative care programs with two key players in the Chicago health community – Alexian Brothers Clinically Integrated Network, LLC and Midwest Center for Women's HealthCare – to improve access to health care, enhance care coordination and lower costs. The programs are part of Cigna Collaborative Care, a value-based model that uses incentives to engage health care professionals and drive improved health, affordability and customer experience.
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An Uproar Over How to Certify Doctors
SunHerald.com (11/05/15) Brubaker, Harold

William R. Greer, a primary-care physician in suburban Philadelphia, welcomes the scrutiny doctors endure to show they are keeping up with medical knowledge and improving patient care. "It needs to be an ongoing process, and then, frankly, I think you need to sit down and put a doctor to the test," Greer said.
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