ASCA News Digest (August 23, 2016)

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August 23, 2016

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ASCA Highlights


HHS Advisory Panel Recommends Total Knees Be Removed from Inpatient-Only List

This week, following a presentation by ASCA member and orthopedic surgeon Sohrab Gollogly, MD, the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment (HOP) unanimously recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) remove total knee arthroplasty (TKA) from its inpatient-only list.

ASCA members can read more about this important development on Thursday in our next “Government Affairs Update,” a weekly member e-newsletter that shares all of the latest legislative and regulatory news affecting ASCs. You must have an active ASCA membership to receive the Government Affairs Update.
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ASCA Benchmarking subscribers can now access their clinical and operational benchmarking reports for the second quarter (Q2) of 2016 through the ASCA Benchmarking portal. These reports offer valuable data about ASCs that can be used to improve quality, boost performance and meet expectations of regulators, payers and patients.

Subscriptions for the 2016 survey are still available online. ASCA members participate at discounted rates.
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Visit the new ASC Focus web site to learn how implementation of the 2012 Life Safety Code will affect ASCs efforts to ensure fire safety compliance.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is notifying health care facilities of Custom Ultrasonics' urgent medical device recall and advising users to stop using its System 83 Plus AERs for reprocessing of duodenoscopes.
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Earn continuing education (CE) credit for less than $3.00 per credit with ASCA's Regulatory Training Series. This program offers a collection of 24 on-demand courses that apply specifically to ASCs and are designed to train ASC staff on the most current regulations and standards of care. Eighteen of the interactive courses provide CE credits, and the entire series can be accessed online at any time.
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Your input is needed in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) 2017 proposed ASC payment rule. ASCA will once again submit comments raising industry-wide concerns, but it is important that CMS hear from individual centers. We have developed a 2017 Proposed Payment Rule Comment Resources page to aid you in writing your comments.
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Industry News


Health Insurance Mergers Prioritize Profits, Posing a Threat to Physicians And Patients
Forbes (08/16/16) Valenti, Joseph

Think back to your last airline flight. After paying a premium price for your ticket you probably waited in a long check-in line, paid hefty baggage fees, dealt with delays--and spent hours in a cramped, narrow seat.
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ICD-10: CMS Will Not Be So Flexible After Oct. 1
Healthcare IT News (08/16) Powderly, Henry

The one-year grace period for ICD-10-coded medical claims will end on Oct. 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday in a update to its FAQ guidelines for the diagnostic code set. ICD-10 went live on Oct. 1, 2015, and at the time CMS said it would not deny claims as long as healthcare providers used codes in the correct "family" related to the treatment.
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As Ransomware Evolves, Healthcare Remains a Prime Target
Health Data Management (08/19/16) Bowman, Dan

Locky ransomware continues to be a thorn in the side of the health care industry, according to new statistics published this week by security vendor FireEye (hat tip to DataBreaches.net). In the past month, FireEye notes, Locky has been delivered increasingly in DOCM format email attachments; in March, the company says, a JavaScript-based downloader was being used.
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Trio of Doctors to Perform Free Cataract Surgeries for One Day
Niagara Falls Reporter (08/18/16)

Cataract Surgeons, Dr. Kenneth D. Anthone, Dr. Amar Atwal and Dr. Ephraim Atwal, will provide cataract surgery at no charge on Friday, October 7, to people of all ages who have no means to pay. The three are part of an annual charitable event called "Mission Cataract Day" where, for one day a year, cataract surgeons throughout the USA offer cataract surgeries to people at no cost to them or to Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.
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North Carolina Scratches CON Repeal From Bill Naming State Cat
Heartland Institute (08/17/16) Thomas, Josh

Clawing their way toward certificate of need (CON) repeal, a North Carolina lawmaker commandeered a bill initially proposing to choose a state cat. Health care and residential treatment facilities would no longer have been required to obtain approval from a special state board before altering their range of services, had lawmakers adopted an amendment to House Bill 161, titled "An Act Adopting the Bobcat as the Official State Cat of the State of North Carolina."
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Medicare Pays Female Doctors Nearly $19,000 Less Than Male Doctors: Study
TIME (08/15/16) Oaklander, Mandy

In a single year, Medicare reimbursed female physicians almost $19,000 less than male doctors, according to a new study published in Postgraduate Medical Journal. The researchers didn't think they'd see a gender gap when they analyzed more than 3 million Medicare reimbursement claims for 2012 for more than 245,000 providers.
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Aetna to Quit Most Obamacare Markets, Joining Major Insurers
Bloomberg (08/15/16) Tracer, Zachary

Health insurer Aetna Inc. will stop selling individual Obamacare plans next year in 11 of the 15 states where it had been participating in the program, joining other major insurers that have pulled out of the government-run markets in the face of mounting losses. Aetna will exit markets including North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida, and keep selling plans on state exchanges only in Iowa, Delaware, Nebraska and Virginia, according to a statement Monday evening.
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CMS Examines Inappropriate Steering of People Eligible for Medicare or Medicaid Into Marketplace Plans
CMS Press Release (08/18/16)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued a request for information seeking public comment on concerns that some health care providers and provider-affiliated organizations may be steering people eligible for, or receiving, Medicare and/or Medicaid benefits into Affordable Care Act-compliant individual market plans, including Health Insurance Marketplace plans, for the purpose of obtaining higher reimbursement rates. CMS also sent letters to all Medicare-enrolled dialysis facilities and centers informing them of this announcement.
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Surgical Care Affiliates Partners With Surgery Center of Chevy Chase
Globe Newswire (08/17/16)

Surgical Care Affiliates, Inc., a leader in the outpatient surgery industry, has been chosen to partner with Surgery Center of Chevy Chase. This investment brings SCA's presence in Maryland to six locations and aligns SCA with an additional 24 high-quality physicians.
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