ASCA News Digest (February 9, 2016)

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February 9, 2016

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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


ASCA Payment Rate Documents Updated

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently revised the ASC January 2016 payment addenda. Go to the ASCA Payment Resources page to see the changes. Only ASCA members can access these resources. Please make sure you are using the current Medicare Rate Calculator and ASCA Table available on our members-only section of the ASCA web site.
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The complete ASCA 2016 program is now available on the ASCA 2016 web site. Download the program today to review a detailed schedule with session descriptions, a list of social and networking events, exhibit hall hours, hotel and registration information and more.
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ASCA 2016 Winter Coding Seminar attendees have until February 29 to submit their evaluations to receive AEU credits or a certificate of participation. To submit online, you will need your ID number located on the back of your attendee badge. If you no longer have your badge, you can request your ID number by sending an email to registration@ascassociation.org.
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Register for ASCA’s Regulatory Training Series using promo code “leap 16” before February 29 to receive a 10 percent discount on all 21 of the online, on-demand courses.
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Attend ASCA’s webinar on the recent edits made to the surveyors’ worksheet released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, President at Infection Control Consulting, will review the changes and analyze how they might affect your ASC.
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In this month’s issue of ASC Focus magazine, you can follow the path of ASCA’s Electronic Health Fairness Act as it works its way through the legislative process.
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ASCA staff met with representatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Survey and Certification Group and Clinical Standards Group last week. The discussion focused on recent changes to the infection control worksheet and issues ASCA members are facing during surveys.
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Industry News


AAAASF Addresses Health Insurance Plans That Exclude Outpatient Surgery From Coverage
PR Web (02/04/16)

On Jan. 25 Kaiser Health News and the Washington Post featured an article discussing employer health insurance plans that exclude outpatient surgery from coverage. The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) sees this failure to cover outpatient surgery as a shortsighted attempt to address cost and a stark and troubling development for a number of reasons.
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Bills to Repeal or Reform Certificate of Public Need Provisions Advance
Richmond Times-Dispatch (02/05/16) Smith, Tammie

Bills that would allow ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, and other medical facilities in Virginia to be built without having to first get state permission were approved by a House committee Thursday. The bills to reform or repeal parts of the decades-old state certificate of public need program are opposed by the powerful hospital lobby, but backed by equally influential groups representing doctors and health insurance plans. “I’ve been working in a hospital since I was 18. They are absolutely wonderful facilities, but the system under (certificate of need) is not productive for the patients. It really is a monopoly,” said Del. John M. O’Bannon III, R-Henrico, sponsor of House Bill 193. O’Bannon and others said more competition would lower health care prices for consumers.
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Study: 29 Percent of Colonoscopy Patients May Have Unneeded Prescreening Visits
Kaiser Health News (02/06/16)

Nearly a third of patients who get colonoscopies to screen for cancer visit a gastroenterologist before having the procedure, at an average cost of $124, even though such visits may be unnecessary, a new study found. Primary care doctors are generally in a good position to alert their patients that they should be screened, discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with them and order the test, said Dr. Kevin Riggs, an internist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who co-authored the study, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Such "open access" programs, which allow providers and sometimes patients to schedule the screening test without first sitting down with a gastroenterologist for a consultation, are becoming routine. The gastroenterologist’s office can then contact the patient to discuss how to take the bowel preparation mix to clean out the colon before the test. The patient can simply show up for the colonoscopy on the scheduled day, without taking more time off work and saving the cost of a specialist office visit.
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Aetna's Deal for Humana Will Push Up Costs for Seniors: Think Tank
Reuters (01/21/16) Bartz, Diane

Aetna Inc's plan to buy smaller insurer Humana Inc for $31 billion will mean seniors will pay higher Medicare Advantage premiums, according to a new report by the think tank Center for American Progress (CAP). Aetna's proposed deal for Humana would combine Aetna's 7 percent of the Medicare Advantage market with Humana's 19 percent, and make it the largest provider, according to CAP, which was founded by John Podesta who worked in the White House under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
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Affordable Care Act Enrollment Grows Modestly This Year, to 12.7 Million
Washington Post (02/05/16) Goldstein, Amy

Nearly 13 million people are now signed up for health plans through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces, according to federal figures released Thursday, yielding a modest gain of about 1 million customers for 2016. During the third open-enrollment season, 9.6 million consumers chose coverage in the 38 states that rely on HealthCare.gov, the website for the federal marketplace. An additional 3.1 million selected plans in states that run their own insurance exchanges. In announcing results of the three-month enrollment window that closed on Sunday, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell portrayed the figures as a success, saying "the totals exceed our expectations."
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Patients Sent for Unnecessary Blood Tests Before Low-Risk Surgical Procedures
News-Medical.net (01/29/2016)

Depending on which hospital you go to for your low-risk surgical procedure, you may be 2.4 times more or less likely to be sent for unnecessary blood tests. This is among the findings of a study conducted by researchers from the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and the Women's College Hospital Institute for Health Systems Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV).
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Providers See Only Minor Productivity Declines After ICD-10 Implementation
HealthLeaders Media (02/05/16) Andrews, Steven

A decrease in staff productivity has been the top challenge for providers after ICD-10 was implemented, but relatively few organizations have seen a significant decrease in productivity, according to a recent survey from Navicure. Despite nearly half of the participants (48 percent) noting a productivity decline as the top issue, only 13 percent of administrative staff and 15 percent of clinical staff saw a significant decrease. Another 46 percent of administrative staff and 42 percent of clinical staff didn't see much of an impact, and the remaining respondents saw a minor impact or didn't know of one. The survey included 360 participants representing a broad range of specialties and sizes, with 60 percent from organizations with one to 10 providers.
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Can Virtual Reality Be the Next Thing in Curing Blindness?
Bloomberg (01/19/16) Harvey, Christine

What affects 20 million people, robs the global economy of billions of dollars and can be fixed with a five-minute procedure? The answer is cataract blindness.
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