ASCA News Digest (December 28, 2016)

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December 28, 2016

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    ASCA Highlights


    Take Advantage of Special Savings on ASC Job Postings

    Before you close the books on your 2016 hiring budget, visit the ASCA Career Center and make the most of the recruitment discounts available for three more days. Use the promotional 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. Do not wait till qualified candidates have already crossed their job search off their New Year's resolution list. Click here to get started.
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    Larsen Billing Service

    Did you know that ASCA is the only national membership organization dedicated to providing ASCs of every specialty with the advocacy support and resources they need to continue to deliver the high quality care they offer? Members take advantage of discounted programs and services, reduced cost continuing education, expansive networking opportunities with their colleagues and regular updates on trends, regulatory news and more. Join today!
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    There is still time to renew your ASCA membership before the holidays. Start off 2017 with access to all of the education and industry tools you have come to rely upon. Renew today.
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    One Medical Passport

    With registration now open for ASCA 2017, May 3–6, in Washington, DC, there is no reason to wait to make your plans to attend. With more than 60 educational sessions, numerous chances to network with thousands of ASC professionals, expert speakers and ample continuing education opportunities, ASCA’s annual meetings are consistently the premier ASC meetings of the year. Learn more and register today.
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    With ASCA’s new All-Access Pass, you will not have to choose which 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 nonmembers $595. Save more than $2,500 on the full purchase price. Click here to view the full 2017 webinar series and secure your pass.
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    With a subscription to ASCA Benchmarking, the association’s online clinical and operational benchmarking program, get the data you need to help you improve clinical outcomes, staffing and billing at 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 in mid-February, review the findings for all ASCs from the full year.

    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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    As the numbers of community hospitals and ASCs go in different directions and the hospital model evolves, there is a growing pool of potential opportunities for surgery centers.

    Visit the ASC Focus web site and learn about the challenges facing hospitals today, what they mean for ASCs and how ASCs can maximize the potential benefits.
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    PolicyStat   Are your Medicare policies current?

    Demonstrating continuous compliance with Medicare standards just got a whole lot better. PolicyStat makes it easy to keep policies current, ensuring your patients receive the safest and highest quality care. Stop wondering if your policies are current and start managing them more efficiently.

    Learn More


    US Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) joined a growing list of supporters for the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act of 2015 (H.R. 1453/S. 2071). The legislation, which now has 93 cosponsors in the House and eight in the Senate, would change the Medicare inflationary update factor that contributes to the growing disparity between ASC and HOPD payments. Click here to read a full description of the legislation and the ways it helps protect patient access to care in the ASC setting.

    In January, ASCA will continue efforts on this key piece of legislation. We hope to have the bill reintroduced early in the new year and your help will be needed to build momentum in the next Congress. Your representatives need to hear from you about why this legislation is important to your ASC and its ability to provide care to their constituents. Stay tuned in the new year for ways that you can help with our advocacy efforts.

    At ASCA 2017, as part of National Advocacy Day, you will have the opportunity to meet personally with your members of Congress on either Wednesday, May 3, or Thursday, May 4. This event provides an opportunity for you and ASC community members from across the country to visit Capitol Hill and educate policymakers on ASC issues. Before your visit, you will be part of an in-depth briefing on current ASC policy concerns and get resources that will help you during your meetings. Transportation between the National Gaylord Resort—the site of ASCA 2017—and Capitol Hill will be provided. Registration for National Advocacy Day is available through ASCA 2017’s main registration page.

    For more information on National Advocacy Day, contact Danielle Kaster.
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    Industry News


    Hospitals and Surgery Centers Play Tug-of-War Over America's Ailing Knees
    Kaiser Health News (12/21/16) Jewitt, Christina

    Five years ago, Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum, an orthopedic surgeon in the Bronx who replaces more than 200 knees each year, would have considered it crazy to send a patient home the same day as a knee replacement operation. And yet there he was this year, as the patient, home after a few hours.

    171,000 Clinicians Will Get Hit With Meaningful Use Penalties
    Fierce Healthcare (12/21/2016) Finnegan, Joanne

    It may not be a Happy New Year for thousands of clinicians who will take a 3 percent pay cut from Medicare next year for failing to demonstrate that they met federal requirements for Meaningful Use of an electronic health record system. The bad news for an estimated 171,000 physicians, nurse practitioners and other clinicians was included in a fact sheet (PDF), released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

    Doctors Are Divided 'Big Time' Over Trump's Nominee to Health Post
    Boston.com (12/26/2016) Pear, Robert

    When President-elect Donald Trump chose Rep. Tom Price of Georgia to be his health and human services secretary, the American Medical Association swiftly endorsed the selection of one of its own, an orthopedic surgeon who has championed the role of physicians throughout his legislative career. Then the larger world of doctors and nurses weighed in on the beliefs and record of Price, a suburban Atlanta Republican -- and the split among caregivers, especially doctors, quickly grew sharp.

    HHS Finalizes New Medicare Alternative Payment Models to Reward Better Care at Lower Cost
    HHS News Release (12/20/16)

    Today, the Department of Health & Human Services finalized new Medicare alternative payment models that continue the Administration's progress in reforming how the health care system pays for care. These new approaches will shift Medicare payments from rewarding quantity to rewarding quality by creating incentives for hospitals and clinicians to work together to avoid complications, avoid preventable hospital readmissions, and speed patient recovery.

    Medicare-Medicaid ACO Model Joins Growing Number of State-Based Efforts to Improve Quality of Care, Lower Costs
    CMS Press Release (12/15/16)

    Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Medicare-Medicaid Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model, a new initiative designed to improve the quality of care and lower costs for beneficiaries who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. The Medicare-Medicaid ACO Model builds on the current Medicare Shared Savings Program and advances efforts to partner with states in transforming the health care delivery system.

    6.4M Signed Up So Far for Insurance Through HealthCare.gov
    Associated Press (12/22/16) Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo

    "Obamacare" seems to be holding its own. The administration said Wednesday that 6.4 million people have enrolled for subsidized private coverage through HealthCare.gov, ahead of last year's pace.

    Aetna, Humana Extend Merger Deadline Again
    Fierce Healthcare (12/23/2016) Small, Leslie

    With the antitrust suit against their deal not yet settled, Aetna and Humana have once again extended their merger deadline. The two insurers pushed the deadline back to Feb. 15, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Health System Acquires Busy Suffolk Surgery Center
    Innovate Long Island (12/20/16)

    New York State's largest healthcare provider keeps getting larger, adding a busy surgical center to its satellite roster. Northwell Health has acquired a majority stake in the Suffolk Surgery Center, a private, multi-specialty outpatient practice in Shirley.

    Surgical Care Affiliates Announces Two New Surgery Center Partnerships With Advocate Health Care
    Globe Newswire (12/16/16)

    Surgical Care Affiliates, Inc., a leader in the outpatient surgery industry, has partnered with Midwest Center for Day Surgery, a joint venture owned by Advocate Health Care and community physicians, effective December 1, 2016. SCA has also acquired Midwest Surgical Management Group, LLC, a joint venture between Advocate and community physicians.

    Is It Safe to Turn Down the Volume of Hospital Alarms? New Study Chimes In: 'Yes'
    Anesthesiology News (12/06/16) Doyle, Chase

    The classic belief that hospital alarms should be loud might be a mistake, a new study suggests. The overabundance and high volume of hospital alarms can have deleterious effects on patients and providers, impairing clinician performance and possibly compromising patient safety.



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