ASCA News Digest (March 1, 2016)

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March 1, 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


Q4 ASCA Benchmarking Report Now Available

ASCA Benchmarking subscribers can now access their clinical and operational benchmarking reports for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2015. To view the report, log into the ASCA Benchmarking portal and click on the "Reports" page.
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Register for ASCA 2016 and attend the Certified Administrator Surgery Center (CASC) Review Course on May 19. The course will provide an in-depth review of the key topics in the five content areas of the CASC exam: regulatory and legal issues, finance, delivery of patient care, quality management and human resources. If you are planning to take the CASC exam—now administered online only—or want a review of the key areas of ASC administration that will help you keep your skills current, this course is for you.
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ASCA memberships for 2015 will expire on March 31. If your center’s membership is not renewed by March 31, you will lose access to important benefits, such as the ASC Focus magazine, ASCA's Medicare Rate Calculator, the weekly Government Affairs Update and discounts on ASCA meetings, webinars and educational resources. Make sure to renew your membership today.
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As the US health care system continues to look for ways to provide better patient care at a lower price, insurers are exploring innovative payment policies. Read about how new payment models are promoting cost-effective sites of service and patient choice in the March issue of ASC Focus magazine.
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ASCA’s new video, “What is an ASC,” explains ASCs in clear and concise terms. Go to the “What is an ASC” page on ASCA’s Advancing Surgical Care web site or to ASCA's YouTube Channel to watch the video. ASCA encourages members of the ASC community to share the video with their own audiences.
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ASCA is conducting a brief survey to determine which procedures should be added to the list of ASC payable procedures for 2017. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is currently drafting the 2017 payment rule which will be released in July. This information will help ASCA advocate for the expansion of the list of procedures that CMS considers clinically appropriate for ASCs to provide to Medicare beneficiaries.

Click here to fill out the survey. Please write Kara Newbury at knewbury@ascassociation.org with questions.
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Industry News


Using Data to Lower Costs
Health Care Cost Institute (02/29/2016) Whaley, Christopher; Brown, Timothy T.; Robinson, James C.

In response to rising health care costs, many employers and insurers have implemented programs that aim to change how consumers select health care providers. Underlying these programs is the wide degree of price variation for the commercially insured population, which was highlighted in a recent study.
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Surgery Center Is a Missing Piece in Health Care Puzzle
Vermont Digger (02/24/16) Reiss, Paul

Independent doctors are making every effort to provide Vermonters with the highest quality care at the lowest price. We are engaged in discussions of the all payer waiver, participate in an accountable care organization (ACO) and the Blueprint for Health.
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Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Study Shows How Consumers Save With Shift to Outpatient Care
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (02/24/16)

A new study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) demonstrates how much consumers and payers save when medical procedures shift from an inpatient to an outpatient setting. The study, "How Consumers Are Saving with the Shift to Outpatient Care," examines four common shoppable procedures--hysterectomy, lumbar/spine surgery, angioplasty and gallbladder removal--from 2010 to 2014.
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Price Estimates for Routine Medical Procedures Prove Elusive, Study Finds
Healthcare Finance News (02/26/16) Lagasse, Jeff

Price estimates for routine medical procedures are difficult, often prohibitively so, to come by for consumers in major metropolitan areas, despite price transparency provisions in the Affordable Care Act and in many individual states. That's the word from two expert researchers from the Pioneer Institute.
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Women Increasingly Having Outpatient Mastectomies, New Federal Data Show
Kaiser Health News (02/22/16) Appleby, Julie

More women with breast cancer--and an increasing number without--are choosing to have mastectomies over more breast-sparing procedures. And nearly half don't spend a single night in the hospital but go home the same day, new government data show.
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Center for Sight Permits Surgery Recording
Bradenton Herald (FL) (02/25/16)

Ophthalmology practice Center For Sight now permits the use of personal video cameras and mobile technology during all surgical procedures, as approved by the patient and subject to patient privacy concerns. Family members and friends are encouraged to join their loved ones' during surgery, viewing the procedure from observation rooms adjoining the operating room.
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CMS Extends Application Deadline for Meaningful Use Hardship Exemptions
Healthcare IT News (02/16) Siwicki, Bill

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced that providers will get more time to apply for hardship exemptions from its electronic health record incentive payment program meaningful use requirements. The new application deadline is July 1, 2016, for all providers.
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The Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Protects Consumers and Taxpayers by Combating Health Care Fraud
CMS Press Release (02/26/16)

The Obama Administration is committed to reducing fraud, waste, and abuse across the government. Since 2010, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have been using powerful, new anti-fraud tools to protect Medicare and Medicaid by shifting from a “pay and chase” approach toward fraud prevention.
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Insurer Warnings Cast Doubt on ACA Exchange Future
Associated Press (02/29/16) Murphy, Tom

Political uncertainty isn't the only threat to the Affordable Care Act's future. Cracks are spreading through a major pillar supporting the law.
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