ASCA News Digest (September 15, 2015)

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September 15, 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!
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ASCA Highlights


ASCA Submits Comments in Response to 2016 Proposed CMS Physician Fee Schedule

ASCA recently submitted comments in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services physician payment rule. The response to the rule included comments regarding the advisability of and appropriate payment rates for cataract and endoscopic sinus surgery in the office setting as an alternative to the ASC and hospital outpatient department. As with all surgical procedures performed on an outpatient basis, ASCA’s primary concern is that these procedures continue to be performed in an environment that has policies and protocols in place addressing patient safety. MORE
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ASCA's Virtual Career Fair takes place tomorrow, September 16. It's free for job-seekers, and you can easily sign in to participate from your computer or mobile device. Register today! Questions? Call 866.964.2765 to speak with an ASCA Career Center adviser or click here to register as an employer. MORE
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ASCA is preparing a strategic plan to help guide its future activities. To ensure this plan aligns with member needs, ASCA is requesting their feedback. Members, please review the draft and share any comments you have with Steve Miller at smiller@ascassociation.org. Comments should be submitted by September 23. MORE
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ASCA's 2015 Fall Seminar will offer educational sessions on key topics that drive development and daily operations at your ASC, lively networking opportunities, continuing education contact hours and the CASC review course and exam. The seminar will take place October 8-10 in Louisville, Kentucky. Register today! MORE
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ASCA's online Regulatory Training Series provides access to on-demand content developed specifically for ASC professionals. Topics range from medication management and infection control to preventing operating room fires and identifying and assisting domestic abuse victims. More than 5,500 students are already enrolled. Take advantage of ASCA's summer sale and begin offering staff in your ASC the opportunity to earn continuing education credits for under $3 per credit! MORE
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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



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.


The results of ASCA's 2015 Salary and Benefits Survey are now available. The final report includes national, regional and state data on 20 ASC job positions, employee benefits and ASC demographics. ASCs can use this information to determine how their ASC's compensation package compares to similar ASCs and as an important tool in attracting and retaining the best employees. ASCs that completed more than 50 percent of the survey can access the results for free. Others can purchase access to the online survey results. MORE
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Quality studies are an integral component of every facility's Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) program. Learn how to identify quality studies specific to your facility and how to use them effectively to improve your operations during ASCA's next webinar "Improving Quality Studies and QAPI in Your ASC." This program will be offered Tuesday, September 29, at 1:00 pm ET. MORE
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Many factors come into play during an ASC expansion and remodeling project. Learn about requirements and key considerations before beginning a project, and why it is imperative to take the time necessary to determine the phases of construction and carefully plan for their execution. MORE
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With just 15 days left until ICD-10 go live, there is still time to train your staff and physicians. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) both offer remote and onsite training to coding professionals, ancillary staff and physicians. Go to ASCA’s ICD-10 Resource Center and scroll down to the AHIMA and AAPC resource links. MORE
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that ASCs can choose to suppress claims-based ASC quality reporting program measure information for calendar year 2013, 2014 or both years from publication on the Hospital Compare website. The deadline for making this request is November 16. MORE
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Industry News


Surgical Hospitals Play Bigger Role Reining in Cost of Health Care
Central Valley Business Journal (09/08/15) Reynolds, Patricia

Surgery is big business. In 2009, Americans underwent 48 million procedures at a cost of more than $166 billion, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Bills Call for Expanding Role of Surgery Centers
News-Press (FL) (09/11/15) Gluck, Frank

State lawmakers will again consider bills to extend the time patients may stay at stand-alone surgical centers and to create a new class of non-hospital "recovery care centers." Such a change could have a significant impact on Southwest Florida's hospitals, which might lose some of their higher-paying patients, and the more than 40 such for-profit surgical centers in Lee and Collier counties that stand to gain them.
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Doctors Assigned Payment Rights Can Sue Insurers: 3rd Circ.
Law360 (09/11/15) Field, Emily

The Third Circuit on Friday reversed a lower court's ruling that a surgical center that was assigned rights to payment by patients did not have standing to sue Aetna Inc. under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, holding that assignment of benefits is sufficient to confer standing. In a published opinion, a three-judge panel held that as a matter of common law, when patients assign their right to payment for health care services to their providers without directly referencing the patient's legal claim to that payment, the providers have standing to sue a health insurer if payment isn't made.
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Doctor-Owned Hospitals Are Not Cherry-Picking Patients, Study Finds
Kaiser Health News (09/03/15) Rau, Jordan

Physician-owned hospitals are often vilified in America's health care system, accused of siphoning the most profitable operations away from other hospitals while leaving them with the sicker and poorer patients. Congress has banned new ones from opening.
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One Symptom in New Medical Codes: Doctor Anxiety
New York Times (09/14/15) Pear, Robert

The nation's health care providers are under orders to start using a new system of medical codes to describe illnesses and injuries in more detail than ever before. The codes will cover common ailments: Did a diabetic also have kidney disease?
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Immediate Need for Healthcare Facilities to Review Procedures for Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sterilizing Reusable Medical Devices
CDC Health Alert Network (09/11/2015)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are alerting health care providers and facilities about the public health need to properly maintain, clean, and disinfect or sterilize reusable medical devices. Recent infection control lapses due to non-compliance with recommended reprocessing procedures highlight a critical gap in patient safety.
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Pennsylvania Aims to Promote 'Value-Based' Health Care Approach
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (09/11/15) Smeltz, Adam

The Pennsylvania Department of Health wants insurance companies to pay doctors and hospitals based on how effectively they treat patients, not solely on how much care they supply, said Secretary of Health Karen Murphy. To help make that happen, the department will survey insurers statewide to see how that "value-based" approach is catching on, Ms. Murphy told employers Thursday at a health conference held at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, Uptown.
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GI Groups Buck Proposed Changes to CMS Endoscopy Payments
Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News (09/15) Frei, Rosemary; Raj, Alai

A trio of gastroenterology groups is objecting to cuts in reimbursement rates for colonoscopy and other lower GI endoscopic procedures proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). If unchanged, the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule will cut physician work values for the colonoscopy family significantly.
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Reference Payment Initiative for Colonoscopy Associated With Lower Prices, Savings
Medical Xpress (09/08/15)

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) saved $7 million on spending for colonoscopy two years after it implemented a reference payment initiative that offered full insurance coverage at low-priced facilities but required substantial cost sharing if patients picked a high-priced alternative, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine. Some employers are experimenting with payment methods that seek to counter high health care prices while upholding consumer access to valuable services.
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Journal of Medical Regulation Highlights Latest Trends in U.S. Physician Workforce
Federation of State Medical Boards (09/03/15)

The Journal of Medical Regulation has published the "Census of Actively Licensed Physicians in the United States, 2014," which provides an analysis of the most recent physician licensure data collected from each of the state medical boards in the United States by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). Key findings of the 2014 Census include: the total population of licensed physicians (916,264) has increased by 4% since 2012.
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Health Savings Accounts Rise Tenfold, New Study Says
HealthCanal.com (09/09/2015)

The number of U.S. households with a health savings account (HSA) jumped tenfold from 2005 to 2012—reaching 6.52 million, according to a study published in the September issue of Health Affairs. HSAs were created so that people enrolled in high-deductible health plans could save and pay for medical care tax-free.
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