ASCA News Digest (October 27, 2015)

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October 27, 2015

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ASCA Highlights

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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.
  • Times are changing for ASCs. Click here to learn 10 reasons why your ASC needs an EMR now!
  • Four Key Features to Look For in a Modern Office Management System. Click here to download the free eBook.
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ASCA Highlights


Renew Membership Online; Receive 10 Percent off Benchmarking Subscription

Renew your ASCA membership through the 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 the membership renewal, contact Renee Harris-Etheridge at 703.636.0609 or rharris@ascassociation.org.
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The data collection period for the third quarter (Q3) of the 2015 Benchmarking survey ends this week, Saturday, October 31. Log in to submit your data before the deadline, or purchase a subscription if you have not already. The 2015 survey features a completely revamped financial section.
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Essential to learning best coding practices in a post-ICD-10 environment, ASCA’s 2016 Winter Coding Seminar will take place January 14—16 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Join your fellow ASC professionals to prepare for the coding and billing changes in 2016 and discuss the changes that took place this year. Register today to make sure you’re receiving the reimbursements you deserve.
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More than one in three women and more than one in four men in the US experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. With a number of these victims seeking outpatient care, ASCs are beginning to play a more significant role in identification and prevention of domestic abuse. Read about how to equip a center with the knowledge and tools it needs to combat domestic violence in the October issue of 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. Reduced prices are available through January 31, 2015.
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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


Laboratory managers and directors spend significant time and effort ensuring that their laboratory remains compliant with the regulatory requirements established in the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). Register for this upcoming webinar on November 3 at 1:00 pm ET for an overview of the latest updates in regulatory compliance for laboratory testing provided in the ASC setting, and get tips and strategies for addressing each area. ASCA members will receive 50 percent off the registration price.
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ASCA's Chief Operations Officer Steve Miller and Assistant Director of Government Affairs Blake McDonald will speak at the 2015 OASCA Annual Education Conference and Trade Show on November 11 in Portland, Oregon.

Miller also will speak at the Washington Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Annual Education Conference and Trade Show on November 16 in Tulalip, Washington.
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US Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA) and Scott DesJarlais, MD (R-TN) join a growing list of supporters for the ASC Quality and Access Act of 2015 (H.R. 1453/S. 2071), which now has 50 cosponsors in the House and five in the Senate. This legislation would fix the Medicare inflationary update factor that causes the growing disparity in payments between the ASC and hospital outpatient department (HOPD) settings. Click here to read a full description of the legislation and how it helps protect patient access to care in the ASC setting.
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Industry News


Medication Errors Happen in Half of All Surgeries
Bloomberg (10/25/15) Tozzi, John

About half of all surgeries involve some kind of medication error or unintended drug side effects, if a new study done at one of America's most prestigious academic medical centers is any indication. The rate, calculated by researchers from the anesthesiology department at Massachusetts General Hospital who observed 277 procedures there, is startlingly high compared with those in the few earlier studies.
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Improved Therapy for Cataract Patients Would Save Medicare Billions
Business Wire (10/26/2015)

A just-released study reports that wider adoption of so-called "dropless" therapy in connection with cataract surgeries could save Medicare and Medicaid more than $7.1 billion over the next ten years. Patients could save an additional $1.4 billion for out of pocket costs for expensive pharmaceutical co-payments, and state governments could save $124 million in Medicaid payments during that time period.
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New Jersey Eye Surgeons Will be Offering Cataract Surgery to the Uninsured
Times Union (10/23/15)

On October 30, 2015, doctors at the River Drive Surgery and Laser Center of Elmwood Park, New Jersey; an AMSURG Partner, will perform free cataract surgery for the seventh straight year during Vision Harvest 2015, for those that are uninsured and can't afford to pay for the procedure. East Hanover ophthalmologist, Cary M. Silverman, M.D. is the Founder of Vision Harvest and organizes this now annual event.
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Medicare Sets New Standards for Ambulance Transports
Insurance News Net (10/23/15)

This notice announces an expansion of the 3-year Medicare Prior Authorization Model for Repetitive Scheduled Non-Emergent Ambulance Transport in accordance with section 515(a) of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. The model is being expanded to the states of Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia.
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Obamacare Website Upgraded to Highlight Costs as Sign-Ups Near
Bloomberg (10/23/15) Tracer, Zachary

The Obama administration is working to make it easier for people to compare health plans and sign up for coverage on the U.S.-run website created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. New features on HealthCare.gov will help people to see how much insurance coverage will cost, once subsidies are included, and what their other medical-care expenses are likely to be.
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Obamacare Insurance Markets Still Vulnerable to Fraud, Experts Say
NBC News (10/23/15) Fox, Maggie

The Obamacare health insurance exchanges are still easily tricked by fraudulent applications, with fake Social Security numbers and bogus immigration details, more than a year after the weakness was first pointed out, officials say. A Government Accountability Office sting also found that many people were double-covered by private insurance and Medicaid after signing up on the exchanges, and that others were allowed to mistakenly go without coverage.
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CMS Directs Physicians to ICD-10 Resources
AAFP News Now (10/23/15)

The nation's transition to the ICD-10 code set became official on Oct.1, and there's no doubt that many thousands of family physicians around the country have questions that deserve immediate attention. After all, the system upgrade swells the number of diagnostic codes from some 13,000 to more than 68,000.
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Medical-School Enrollment Is Up 25 Percent Since 2002
Chronicle of Higher Education (10/22/15) Mangan, Katherine

The nation's medical schools chalked up another record-setting year of applications and enrollment, while making strides to attract a more-diverse applicant pool, according to figures released on Thursday by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The association, which has been warning of an impending physician shortage as baby boomers age and an earlier generation of physicians retires, reported that enrollment has climbed 25 percent since 2002, reaching an all-time high of 20,630 students this year.
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Who Is Dominating the Local Ambulatory Surgery Center Market?
Philadelphia Business Journal (10/19/15) George, John

The rate of ambulatory surgery center openings in Pennsylvania is slowing, according to a report issued Monday by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, which also found the financial performance of such facilities improved modestly in fiscal 2014. Among the centers in southeastern Pennsylvania, the Laser Spine Institute in Wayne, Pa., had the highest revenues at $37.4 million followed by Jefferson Surgery Center at the Navy Yard, $17.4 million; and Riddle Surgical Center in Media, Pa., $15.5 million.
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Still No Health Insurance? Open Enrollment Starts Nov. 1
Seattle Times (10/25/15) Aleccia, JoNel

Health-insurance holdouts--people who don't want or haven't found coverage in the era of Obamacare--will be the focus starting Nov. 1 as state and federal officials launch the Affordable Care Act's third open enrollment period. The stakes are higher this time for everyone involved.
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Increases in Fentanyl Drug Confiscations and Fentanyl-Related Overdose Fatalities
CDC Health Alert Network (10/26/2015)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are investigating recent increases in fentanyl-related unintentional overdose fatalities in multiple states across the U.S. The purpose of this HAN advisory is to: (1) alert public health departments, health care providers, first responders, and medical examiners and coroners to the possibility of additional increases in other jurisdictions, (2) provide recommendations for improving detection of fentanyl-related overdose outbreaks and (3) encourage states to expand access to naloxone and training for administering naloxone to reduce opioid overdose deaths.
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Downing Labs, LLC Sterile Compounded Products: Recall - Lack of Sterility Assurance
FDA MedWatch (10/20/15)

Downing Labs, LLC is voluntarily recalling all lots of sterile products compounded and packaged by Downing Labs and that remain within expiry due to concerns over sterility assurance. The products were distributed nationwide and in the UK to patients and providers between April 20, 2015 and September 15, 2015.
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