ASCA News Digest (January 26, 2016)

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January 26, 2016

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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.
  • Make sure to follow AmkaiSolutions on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

ASCA Highlights


One Week Left to Submit Q4 Data for ASCA Benchmarking

The data collection period for the fourth quarter (Q4) of the 2015 ASCA Benchmarking Program will close on Friday, February 5. If you have not already, please submit your data.

If you are not currently a subscriber, sign up today. You will receive the national/specialty report for Q1, Q2 and Q3 when you subscribe.
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ASCA is offering a leap year discount on its Regulatory Training Series to those who register before February 29. Use the promo code "leap 16" when you sign up to start earning continuing education (CE) credit for less than $3.00 each.
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Under the federal budget adopted last November, hospitals and health systems are no longer able to buy ASCs, convert them to hospital outpatient departments (HOPD) and charge HOPD prices. Read about how this might affect your center and the broader ASC community in the January issue of Focus magazine.
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Charlie Leonard, ASCA's public affairs and public relations consultant and Kay Tucker, ASCA's director of communications, will provide tips for reaching out and responding to local media during ASCA’s next webinar, "In Print, On Air and Online: The Challenges and Opportunities of Media Relations," on Tuesday, February 9, at 1:00 pm ET. Learn the most effective ways to work with reporters and how to discuss headline news with your patients. This webinar is free to ASCA members.
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ASCA’s Chief Executive Officer William Prentice will speak at McDermott Will & Emery’s 14th annual ASC Symposium on February 26 in Miami, Florida.
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ASC Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program Reporting Preview Reports are available through the QualityNet Secure Portal for participating facilities until February 14, 2016. Facilities will be able to access data that will be publicly reported in April 2016 on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Compare web site.
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Industry News


Employers Push Limit of Obamacare by Excluding Outpatient Surgery in Plans
Washington Post (01/21/16) Hancock, Jay

Libbi Stovall couldn't believe it last month when she looked at the fine print in her company's 2016 health plan, which supposedly meets the strictest standard for employer obligations under Affordable Care Act rules. The insurance paid for inpatient hospital care, office visits and diagnostic imaging.
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Colonoscopy at 40? Study Finds a Possible Benefit
STAT News (01/25/16) Samuel, Leah

Nearly 15 percent of colorectal cancers are diagnosed in people under age 50, suggesting that it might be beneficial to begin regular screenings — including, perhaps, the dreaded colonoscopy — earlier than is customary, according to a study published Monday in the journal Cancer. The American Cancer Society calls for regular colon cancer screening — which could involve analysis of stool samples or barium enemas, in addition to the colonoscopy — to begin at age 50 in most cases, except for people who have had close relatives diagnosed with colon cancer.
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Virginia Legislators Aim to Roll Back Health Care Regulations, But More Needs to Be Done
Roanoke Times (VA) (01/24/16) Haskins, Justin

Few Americans know the substantial and detrimental effects certificate of public need (COPN) laws have on the quality of health care in the 36 states that have chosen to enact them. These laws not only reduce access to quality care, they place a substantial degree of power to make important health care decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats, ignoring the professional opinions of highly educated doctors and other medical experts.
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Appeals Court Upholds Virginia Health Care Facility Law
Associated Press (01/21/16) O'Dell, Larry

A Virginia law that requires government approval for new or expanded health care facilities is constitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a claim that Virginia's "certificate of public need" program impermissibly interferes with interstate commerce.
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EHR Incentive Programs: Where We Go Next
CMS Blog (01/19/16) Slavitt, Andy; DeSalvo, Karen

As we mentioned in a speech last week, the Administration is working on an important transition for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. We have been working side by side with physician organizations and have listened to the needs and concerns of many about how we can make improvements that will allow technology to best support clinicians and their patients.
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Why Doctors Need to Have Answers for Patients' Questions About Costs
NPR Online (01/19/16) Schumann, John Henning

For years, Mrs. Sutton came to see me in the office every three months. Visiting the doctor quarterly was "the right thing to do," she told me, given the fact that she had both diabetes and high blood pressure.
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Commission, Senate Committee Push Transparency Forward
Health News Florida (01/20/2016) Gentry, Carol

A final report from Gov. Rick Scott's Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding is recommending that Floridians should be able to find out ahead of time what it will actually cost before going into the hospital for non-emergency treatment. The commission wrapped up eight months of hearings and research on hospital payments Tuesday morning with a report calling for price transparency.
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'Surgery on Sunday' Provides Outpatient Surgeries to Patients in Need
WHAS 11 News (01/24/16) MacDonald, Michaela

On a day that is usually reserved for rest, a group of 80 surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and medical staff were busy at work. The volunteers performed 10 outpatient surgeries at Medical Center Jewish South in Shepherdsville, all completely free for the patients.
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Cigna Temporarily Banned From New Medicare Plans
USA Today (01/22/16) Bomey, Nathan

U.S. regulators have temporarily banned health insurer Cigna from offering certain Medicare plans to new patients after a probe uncovered issues with current offerings. The insurer disclosed late Thursday in a public filing that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), had suspended the company from enrolling new customers or marketing plans for Cigna Medicare Advantage and Standalone Prescription Drug Plan Contracts.
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New Federal Standards for Marketplace Plans May Reduce Out-of-Pocket Spending
Kaiser Health News (01/22/16) Andrews, Michelle

Some consumers who buy coverage on the health insurance marketplaces in 2017 could see their out-of-pocket costs drop significantly under a federal proposal to create standardized plans, a recent analysis found. The government wants to create six plan options at the bronze, silver and gold metal levels, each with standard deductibles, maximum out-of-pocket spending limits and copayments or coinsurance for various services.
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