ASCA News Digest (March 22, 2016)

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March 22, 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.
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ASCA Highlights


Less than Two Weeks Left to Save $100 on ASCA 2016

Time is running out to attend ASCA 2016 at a discount. Sign up for ASCA’s annual meeting, May 19–22, in Dallas, Texas, by April 1 to receive $100 off the cost of registration and save up to $200 more by registering two or more attendees at the same time.

Don’t miss this opportunity to attend one of the ASC industry's largest meetings at a discounted cost. Sign up for ASCA 2016 before the April 1 early registration deadline.
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The data collection period for the first quarter (Q1) of the 2016 ASCA Benchmarking Program opens April 1. If you have not already, make sure to sign up for the 2016 survey. This year’s program has been upgraded to include several new features, including dynamic filtering capabilities, streamlined data entry and real-time results.
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ASCA’s 2016 Capitol Fly-In will take place June 13–14 and September 12–13. Participants will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their members of Congress, discuss the impact of current ASC legislation with industry experts and network with ASCA members from across the country. Most importantly, Fly-In participants help strengthen the collective voice of the ASC community.

If you have not already, ask your state leader which date your state is attending and register today.
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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 web site. 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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Experts agree that inpatient coding and ASC coding are completely different. Therefore, it would be a mistake to hire an inpatient coder and expect them to code ASC procedures accurately. Read the April issue of ASC Focus magazine to learn how to find and retain the right coder for your ASC.
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ASCA has created a resource to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Survey, or “OAS CAHPS” survey. This survey allows hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and ASCs to measure the experiences of care for patients who visited their facilities for a surgery or procedure.
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Last week, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its March report and recommended a 0 percent update for ASC 2017 Medicare payments.

The Commission also recommended a 0 percent update for most other providers as well. The exceptions were physician payments and payments to hospital outpatient departments (HOPD) and inpatient hospitals. For HOPDs and inpatient payments, MedPAC recommended that their payments be updated by the amount specified in current law, currently estimated to be a 1.75 percent increase.
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Industry News


ICD-10: CMS to Add 5,500 New Codes
Government Health IT (03/16/16) Morse, Susan

As it did with ICD-9, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be updating ICD-10 to new codes when appropriate. And CMS said during a March 9 meeting that beginning Oct. 1, 2016 it will inject another 5,500 codes to the diagnostic library.
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FDA Proposes Ban on Most Powdered Medical Gloves
FDA News Release (03/21/16)

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a proposal to ban most powdered gloves in the United States. While use of these gloves is decreasing, they pose an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury to health care providers, patients and other individuals who are exposed to them, which cannot be corrected through new or updated labeling.
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Overlapping Surgeries to Face US Senate Inquiry
Boston Globe (03/13/16) Saltzman, Jonathan; Abelson, Jenn

The chairman of a powerful U.S. Senate committee has asked 20 hospital systems, including the parent company of Massachusetts General Hospital, to provide detailed records about the controversial practice of allowing surgeons to operate on more than one patient at a time. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a Utah Republican who heads the Finance Committee, has requested the information, including the total number of "concurrent surgeries," broken down by specialty, at each hospital from 2011 to 2015, and policies about whether patients are informed beforehand.
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Cheery Work Environment Shapes Busy Healthcare Center
Charlotte Observer (03/13/16) Smith, Celeste

Gateway Ambulatory Surgery Center in Concord stays busy. Local surgeons perform more than 10,000 outpatient procedures a year there, according to the health care organization.
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CDC Releases Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
CDC News Release (03/15/16)

As part of the U.S. government's urgent response to the epidemic of overdose deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today is issuing new recommendations for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain, excluding cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care. The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, United States, 2016 will help primary care providers ensure the safest and most effective treatment for their patients.
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Physicians Ask Florida Attorney General to Block the Aetna-Humana Mega-Merger
American Medical Association News Release (03/14/16)

The American Medical Association (AMA) joined today with the Florida Medical Association (FMA) and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association (FOMA) called on Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to reject the proposed merger of health insurer giants Aetna and Humana. In a letter to the attorney general, the physician organizations outlined their strong concern that the anticompetitive consequences of the merger would negatively impact health care access, quality and affordability in Florida.
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Nearly Two Thirds of 2,211 Doctors Say Colon Cancer Screening Should Begin Before Age 50
Business Wire (03/16/2016)

SERMO, the leading global social network for physicians and largest health care professional polling company, announced today that in a poll of 2,211 U.S. doctors, 64 percent thought that guidelines for when a person should begin regular colon cancer screening should be changed to lower the age. A survey of 1,419 of those doctors found that: 56 percent think that increased incidences of obesity and diabetes are to blame for colon cancer becoming more widespread among young adults.
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Johnson & Johnson Settling Cases Tied to Device That Can Spread Uterine Cancer
NASDAQ (03/18/16) Levitz, Jennifer

Johnson & Johnson is settling a series of legal claims and lawsuits alleging that its now-discontinued hysterectomy device harmed women by spreading an undetected hidden cancer, according to court documents and plaintiff lawyers with knowledge of the settlements. An estimated 100 cases have either been filed--or readied for lawsuits--against J&J's Ethicon unit related to a device known as the laparoscopic power morcellator, said Paul Pennock, a plaintiff lawyer and co-lead counsel on the steering committee for consolidated litigation under way in a Kansas City, Kan., federal court.
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CMS Releases Interactive Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool
CMS Press Release (03/17/16)

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health released a new interactive map to increase understanding of geographic disparities in chronic disease among Medicare beneficiaries. The Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool identifies disparities in health outcomes, utilization, and spending by race and ethnicity and geographic location.
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CMS Hits Humana With $3.1 Million Penalty for Violations Found in Audit of Medicare Operations
Healthcare Payer News (03/08/2016) Morse, Susan

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has levied a $3.1 million penalty against Humana, the single largest imposed against 129 organizations found in violation of Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans in a 2015 audit. Humana's civil penalty was based on an audit of its Medicare operations from April 20, 2015 through May 7, 2015, CMS said.
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