ASCA News Digest (December 13, 2016)

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December 13, 2016

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ASCA Highlights


ASCA Will Help You Fill That Job Opening

Visit the ASCA Career Center and let ASCA lend a hand in filling that job opening with the candidate you have been looking for. Use the code YE30DAY to receive a 20 percent discount on a 30-day posting or code YE60DAY to receive 25 percent off a 60-day posting through December 30. Click here to get started.
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One Medical Passport

Get ASCA’s new All-Access Pass and stop wasting time picking and choosing webinars to attend next year. Pay one low rate and gain access to the entire 2017 webinar series, both the live events and recordings. The cost for members is $395 and for non-members, $595. Save more than $2,500 on the full purchase price. Click here to view the full 2017 webinar series and secure your pass today.
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Get the education and resources you need to grow your ASC's bottom line while complying with constantly evolving laws and regulations at ASCA's winter seminars, January 12–14, in San Antonio, Texas. The early registration discount has been extended one week. Prices go up $100 after December 19, so learn more and register today.

Choose from three conferences, all presented by ASC experts: Finance & Accounting Seminar, Regulatory & Legal Risk Seminar and the Coding & Reimbursement Seminar. While you need to choose a single seminar for which to register, that registration provides you access to sessions in any of the seminars for no additional fee. It's like getting three registrations for the price of one.
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When you subscribe to ASCA Benchmarking, the online clinical and operational benchmarking program, you receive data that allows you to improve the clinical outcomes, staff indicators and billing performance of your ASC. There is still time to subscribe to the 2016 survey. Submit your ASC's Q4 2016 data between January 1–31, 2017, and review the findings for all ASCs from the full year in mid-February.

You can also purchase a 2017 subscription today. It is the same price as a 2016 subscription. Learn more and sign up!
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ASCA 2017 will offer more than 60 ASC-specific educational sessions on the latest business, financial, clinical and regulatory issues. The annual meeting will take place May 3–6 in Washington, DC. Expert speakers and multiple government agency representatives will cover the latest business, financial, clinical and regulatory information you need to help your ASC succeed. This is sure to be one of ASCA’s best annual meeting programs ever. Learn more and register today!
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Make sure you have everything you need to manage your ASC in 2017 by renewing your ASCA membership. Your membership allows you to obtain continuing education units (CEU), benchmark clinical operations, connect with colleagues, get updates on trends and issues, stay ahead of regulatory requirements, and more. Click here to renew.
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The US Senate has passed the 21st Century Cures Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by US Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Dianne DeGette (D-CO), includes two key provisions that benefit Medicare patients and the physicians who care for them in ASCs. The president has indicated support for this legislation and expected to sign the bill into law soon.

These provisions were included in the larger 'Cures' legislation because they received broad, bipartisan support thanks to the combined efforts of ASC-supportive members of Congress and the ASCA members who invested their time and energy to participate in fly-ins and grassroots efforts to educate their elected officials.

The first provision, Section 4012, directs the secretary of US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a public, searchable web site that allows Medicare beneficiaries to compare differences in their out-of-pocket costs and in the total expenses for various surgeries when those procedures are performed in hospital outpatient departments and ASCs.

The second provision, Section 16003, protects physicians who practice in an ASC from potential penalties tied to the Medicare meaningful use program. Current law requires Medicare providers to adopt and use certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) for a fixed percentage of their patients; unfortunately, no CEHRT is currently available for ASC encounters. As a result, physicians who bring patients to ASCs could face cuts in their professional fees even though meeting the program’s threshold is not possible in the ASC setting. This legislation protects physicians who perform surgery in ASCs and authorizes HHS to approve CEHRT for the ASC setting.

For more information on the 21st Century Cures Act, write Kristin Murphy.
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Industry News


MedPAC to Lobby for Scratching ASC Update Again
MedPage Today (12/09/16) Firth, Shannon

An advisory body to Congress on Medicare payment policies wants Congress to scrap an anticipated 2 percent update to payments for ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) for 2018. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) met on Thursday to discuss potential recommendations for a series of health-related services.

PolicyStat   Are your Medicare policies current?

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OR Cost Scorecards Help Reduce Healthcare Supply Chain Costs
RevCycle Intelligence (12/09/16) Belliveau, Jacqueline

Health care supply chain costs dropped by 6.54 percent per case in surgical departments that provided surgeons with monthly cost scorecards and had a financial incentive to reduce surgical supply chain spending, a new study in JAMA Surgery found. Median direct surgical supply chain costs decreased from $1,398 per case in 2014, the year before the scorecard intervention, to $1,307 per case in 2015.

National Surgical Hospitals Explores Sale - Sources
Reuters (12/08/16) Roumeliotis, Greg; O'Donnell, Carl

National Surgical Hospitals Inc, an operator of U.S. surgical centers that focus on orthopedic and spine operations, is exploring a sale that could potentially value it at close to $1 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter. Surgery center operators are seeking scale in a fragmented market and face uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which has boosted the ability of some patients to afford short-stay and ambulatory surgical care.

Orlando Health to Offer Robotic Outpatient Surgery
Click Orlando (12/09/16) Shepard, Tyler

Orlando Health is taking a big step into the future. The company's ambulatory care center has become the first outpatient center in Central Florida to introduce robotic outpatient surgery.

Congress Passes 21st Century Cures Act, Boosting Research and Easing Drug Approvals
Washington Post (12/07/16) DeBonis, Mike

Congress passed sweeping legislation Wednesday that boosts funding for medical research, eases the development and approval of experimental treatments and reforms federal policy on mental health care. The 94 to 5 Senate vote Wednesday followed a 392 to 26 House vote last week.

Interstate Health Insurance Sales Has a Tryout in Georgia But No Takers
Kaiser Health News (12/08/16) Miller, Andy

Among Republican ideas to transform the health care system is a proposal to allow health insurers to sell their policies across state lines. President-elect Donald Trump and Rep. Tom Price, the Georgia congressman picked by Trump to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, have backed the proposal.

Improving the Quality of Care for Medicare Beneficiaries by Increasing Patient Engagement
CMS Blog (12/08/16) Conway, Patrick; Bindman, Andy B.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) identifies the engagement of Medicare beneficiaries as a cornerstone to achieving better care, smarter spending, and healthier people. Our agencies--the Centers for Medicare & and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) --support the vision set forth in CMS' Quality Strategy, of health and care that is person-centered, provides incentives for the right outcomes, is sustainable, emphasizes coordinated care and shared decision making, and relies on transparency of quality and cost information.

Doctors and Hospitals Tell Patients: Show Us the Money Before Treatment
NPR Online (12/07/16) Andrews, Michelle

Tai Boxley needs a hysterectomy. The 34-year-old single mother has uterine prolapse, a condition that occurs when the muscles and ligaments supporting the uterus weaken, causing severe pain, bleeding and urine leakage.

Envision Healthcare Rings the NYSE Opening Bell
AmSurg (12/08/16)

Chris Holden, president and chief executive officer, Bill Sanger, executive chairman of the board, and other senior leaders rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on behalf of Envision Healthcare on Thursday, December 8. The event marks the move of AMSURG from NASDAQ to NYSE under the new EVHC ticker.

Price Poised to Protect Doctors' Interests at HHS
Kaiser Health News (12/12/16) Jewitt, Christina; Taylor, Marisa

In picking Tom Price to be secretary of Health and Human Services, Donald Trump has chosen an orthopedic surgeon who in his congressional career, has loyally promoted the interests of the medical profession--its freedom and importantly, its financial interests. A conservative representing Georgia’s 6th District, Price sponsored a 2015 bill that would restrict efforts to reduce doctor payments for medical services.

Prescribing Antibiotics, Narcotics, and Opioids Is Common But Little Benefit for Patients
American College of Physicians (12/06/16)

A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) found that overuse of antibiotics, aggressive non-palliative treatment in patients with limited life expectancy, treatment of chronic pain, and dietary supplements may be the most frequently used low value treatment interventions used by doctors. The study was published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.



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