ASCA News Digest (March 8, 2016)

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March 8, 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!
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ASCA Highlights


Final Month to Save on ASCA 2016 Registration

Register for ASCA 2016, Thursday–Sunday, May 19–22, in Dallas by April 1 to take advantage of early registration rates. ASCA members who sign up before the deadline will receive $100 off the cost of registration, and can save up to $200 more by registering two or more attendees at the same time.

Don’t miss this opportunity to attend the meeting at a lower cost. Sign up for ASCA 2016 before the April 1 early registration deadline.
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March 31 is the last day to renew ASCA memberships for 2016 before important benefits, such as the ASC Focus magazine, ASCA's Medicare Rate Calculator and the weekly Government Affairs Update expire.

You can renew today using a check or credit card securely through the ASCA website. To request a renewal invoice or to confirm that your facility has renewed for 2016, write Renee Harris-Etheridge at rharris@ascassociation.org.
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Staff competencies must be evaluated upon hiring and annually thereafter. Find out how surveyors expect your ASC to manage this process and get the resources you need to avoid citations in this critical operational area during ASCA’s next webinar on Tuesday, March 22 at 1:00 pm ET.
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ASCA now posts feature articles from upcoming issues of ASC Focus magazine online before they go to print as Digital Debut stories. Learn how to find and retain coders to meet your center's needs. Read more in this Digital Debut from the April issue of ASC Focus magazine.
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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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ASCA’s Chief Executive Officer William Prentice will speak at the 2016 Texas ASC Society Annual Conference, April 7–8, in San Antonio, Texas.
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Last week, US Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) joined a growing list of supporters for the ASC Quality and Access Act of 2015 (H.R. 1453/S. 2071). The legislation, which would fix the Medicare inflationary update factor that causes the growing disparity in payments between the ASC and HOPD settings, now has 68 cosponsors in the House and seven in the Senate.
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Industry News


Outpatient Surgery Safe for Total Hip
MedPage Today (03/03/16) Walsh, Nancy

Total hip replacement can be performed safely and effectively on an outpatient basis for healthy patients, a researcher reported here. From 2008 to 2014, a total of 549 patients underwent mini-posterior arthroplasty at a single ambulatory surgical center and were discharged the same day, according to Gregg R. Klein, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Paramus, N.J.
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U.S. Top Court Rules for Liberty Mutual Over Vermont Healthcare Law
Reuters (03/01/16) Hurley, Lawrence

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Vermont cannot compel health insurers to hand over data on the amount paid on medical claims, backing Liberty Mutual Insurance Co's contention that federal law prohibited such requirements. The court, in a 6-2 decision, found that a 2005 Vermont data collection law that was aimed at improving the quality of healthcare did not apply to self-funded insurance plans, which are most commonly used by large companies, and ran afoul of the U.S. Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA).
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MBC Tours Fort Sutter Surgery Center
California Ambulatory Surgery Association (02/29/16)

On Thursday, February 25, 2016, Fort Sutter Surgery Center opened its doors to the staff of the Medical Board of California (MBC). MBC Executive Director, Kim Kirchmeyer; MBC Chief of Legislation, Jennifer Simoes; MBC Staff Council, Kerrie Webb; along with MBC staff overseeing ASCs were in attendance.
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Young Docs: The New Blood That Health Care Needs
Managed Care (02/29/16) Kelley, Timothy

There was good news for health plans and health systems at the inaugural conference for a new health law center at Yale Law School last November: Getting today's newly minted physicians to accept value-based payment and ACOs—and the goals that go with them—may be easier than you think. The happy tidings came from William Sage, MD, JD, a University of Texas law school professor and a professor of surgery and perioperative care at the university's new Dell Medical School.
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How to Open a New Surgery Center--Four Tips to Consider
Business Wire (03/04/2016)

Today, there are more than 6,000 ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) in the United States. This is nearly the same as the number of hospitals.
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Colonoscopy Culture Clash: Why Am I Getting One When Canada Says Not So Fast?
WBUR.org (03/04/16) Zimmerman, Rachel

My last thought before drifting off was: What am I doing here? As the nurse hooked up the IV for my "conscious sedation"--a pain-killing, amnesia-inducing, anxiety-easing cocktail of fentanyl and Versed--I had checked my phone one last time and up popped this headline: "New Canadian recommendation against colonoscopy for routine screening of colorectal cancer."
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Doctor Quality Ratings May Be Influenced by Setting
Reuters (03/04/16) Kennedy, Madeline

Patients give the same doctors different ratings depending on where their visit took place, according to a small U.S. study. Although doctors might act differently in an emergency room compared to a calmer office setting, researchers say the results also suggest that ratings are not a completely reliable measure of the quality of care physicians give.
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Florida House Passes 'Free-Market' Healthcare Options
Miami Herald (03/02/16) Michot, Walter

A series of free-market health care reform proposals passed the Florida House on Wednesday. Taken together, the changes represent the bulk of the House's health-care agenda, which Republican leaders in the chamber have emphasized since the Medicaid expansion debate last summer.
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Endoscope Maker Olympus Agrees to $646 Million Settlement Over Kickbacks
NPR Online (03/02/16) Terhune, Chad

Medical device maker Olympus Corp., already under federal investigation for its role in superbug outbreaks, has agreed to pay $646 million to resolve criminal and civil probes into illegal kickbacks and bribes to doctors and hospitals. Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that the company's settlement is the largest ever for violations of the U.S. Anti-Kickback Statute.
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NueHealth Acquires Blue Chip Partners, Expands Opportunity to Connect Providers to Consumers Through Clinically Integrated Networks
PR Newswire (03/02/16)

To advance its efforts in delivering quality, value-based care for consumers, NueHealth, a privately owned U.S. company that connects providers to consumers through clinically integrated provider networks, has announced its acquisition of Blue Chip Partners, an 11-year-old company focused on developing, managing and optimizing ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). The acquisition process began early in 2015 and was finalized in January 2016, with NueHealth assuming full ownership of Blue Chip Partners and 11 of its ASCs.
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Will Healthcare.gov Get a California Makeover?
Kaiser Health News (02/29/16) Bartolone, Pauline

When 28-year-old Charis Hill discovered that the medication to treat her degenerative arthritis condition had risen to $2,000 a month, she chose to be in pain instead. "I felt like an invalid," said Hill, who lives in Sacramento and at the time had only catastrophic health coverage.
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