ASCA News Digest (November 7, 2017)

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November 7, 2017

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ASCA Highlights



Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its 2018 final payment rule for ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs). Both ASCs and HOPDs will receive lower increases than were proposed in July. On average, ASC payment rates will increase by 1.2 percent in 2018; this increase is based on a projected rate of inflation of 1.7 percent minus a 0.5 percentage point productivity adjustment required by the Affordable Care Act. Read more.
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3M Health Care  
ASC-13 Normothermia Outcome Begins January 1
Data collection period begins January 1, 2018. Having protocols in place to maintain normothermia throughout the perioperative process including monitoring and documenting temperatures is essential. Learn more from your normothermia experts.

Learn how to develop and implement an infection prevention program that protects your patients and keeps your ASC Medicare compliant at ASCA’s Infection Control & Prevention Techniques for ASCs winter seminar, January 11–13, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This new seminar is designed specifically for infection preventionists working in ASCs and features three days of intensive, hands-on training with industry experts. Register.

This seminar runs concurrently with two others: Coding Update & Reimbursement Strategies and Minimizing Your Regulatory & Legal Risk. Sign up for one and attend sessions from the others for free. Learn more and register.
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Get the latest quality reporting updates and protect your ASC from future Medicare payment cuts with ASCA’s free webinar CMS Quality Reporting for ASCs, scheduled for Tuesday, November 14, at 1:00 pm ET. Join ASC Quality Collaboration Executive Director Donna Slosburg, RN, CASC, and ASCA Director of Education and Clinical Affairs Gina Throneberry, RN, CASC, as they present an overview of the quality reporting program and discuss the latest updates outlined in Medicare’s 2018 ASC final payment rule. Register.
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As more complex procedures continue to move to the outpatient setting, many ASCs are actively looking at where patients can receive the best post-acute recovery care. To learn more about convalescent centers, skilled nursing facilities and home care options, visit the ASC Focus website.
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In the latest Member Focus profile, a Minnesota administrative director explains how a new payment process in her ASC has helped patients understand their health care costs. View featured member.

Member Focus, published on the ASC Focus website, invites ASCA members to share their views on key ASC issues. If you would like to be featured, complete this brief questionnaire and you could be selected for a future profile.
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OrthAlign

On Monday, November 13, ASCA Regulatory Counsel Kara Newbury will present a federal update during the Arkansas Ambulatory Surgery Association (AASA) Annual Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her presentation is scheduled for 7:30 am CT.
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As a reminder, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin surveying based on the revised emergency preparedness standards on November 15, 2017. The revised requirements are outlined in the final rule published in September 2016, which established national emergency preparedness requirements for all 17 Medicare and Medicaid provider and supplier types. Read more.
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Industry News


Site-Neutral Payments Called an Assault on the Financial Stability of Hospitals
Healthcare Finance News (11/02/17) Morse, Susan

Site-neutral payments all but stopped hospitals from building outpatient facilities in 2016. Outpatient development effectively froze in 2016, down from $19.6 million in projects in 2015, to $16.4 million in 2016, according to Revista, a resource for health care property data.

Georgia's Certificate of Need Law Lives to See Another Day
JD Supra (11/01/17)

Despite an attack that went up to the Georgia Supreme Court, it appears that the State's Certificate of Need (CON) law will live to see another day. On October 16, 2017, the Georgia Supreme Court issued an opinion written by Justice Harold Melton upholding the law, finding that the CON laws serve a legitimate state interest in ensuring that health care services are distributed reasonably and economically.

Emergency Management Final Rule Impacts Specific Ambulatory Customers
Joint Commission Ambulatory Buzz blog (11/01/17) Bergero, Lynne

In September 2016, The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) issued the Emergency Management Final Rule, a set of emergency preparedness and response regulations that applies to 17 health care settings, including ambulatory organizations. Ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) that are currently accredited by The Joint Commission are already substantially compliant with most of these CMS requirements.

Report: 29 Percent of Healthcare Payments in 2016 Tied to APMs
Healthcare Informatics (11/01/17) Landi, Heather

Nearly one-third (29 percent) of total U.S. health care payments were tied to alternative payment models (APMs), such as as shared savings/risk arrangements, bundled payments, or population-based reimbursements, in 2016, a six percentage point increase from 2015, according to a report from the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (LAN). The share of payments being reimbursed through an alternative payment model is up six percentage points from 2015, when 23 percent of health care payments were tied to APMs, according to LAN’s analysis of data sourced from LAN, America's Health Insurance Plan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

CMS Finalizes Policies that Reduce Provider Burden, Lower Drug Prices
CMS Press Release (11/02/17)

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule for the 2018 Physician Fee Schedule and final rule with comment period for the Quality Payment Program (QPP). While part of CMS's broader strategy to relieve regulatory burdens for providers, these rules also reflect the agency's efforts to promote innovation in health care delivery aimed at lowering prices, increasing competition, and strengthening the relationship between patients and their doctors.

House GOP Weighs Repeal of Health Mandate in Tax Bill
Associated Press (11/04/17) Gordon, Marcy; Taylor, Andrew

Republicans are weighing a repeal of a key tenet of the Obama-era health care law in their tax overhaul as the House's tax-writing committee begins work on shaping the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday Republicans are discussing whether their tax plan should include a repeal of the Obama health law's requirement that people have insurance coverage or face a penalty, a step pushed by President Donald Trump but seen by some GOP lawmakers as possibly imperiling a much-needed legislative victory.

Survey Findings: 4 in 10 Healthcare Professionals Work While Sick
APIC News Release (11/01/17)

A new study suggests that health care professionals (HCPs) should heed to their own advice: stay home when sick. Some four in 10 HCPs work while experiencing influenza-like illness, according to findings published in the November issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Senators Call for Crackdown on Pharmaceutical Industry 'Revolving Door'
Washington Post (11/02/17) Higham, Scott; Bernstein, Lenny

Seven Democratic U.S. senators on Thursday introduced legislation designed to slow the "revolving door" between federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the pharmaceutical companies they regulate. "The pharmaceutical industry has a deep-rooted and strong influence in Washington, and a revolving door between drug companies and government cannot undermine the safety of our communities," said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who sponsored the bill.

Panel Recommends Opioid Solutions But Puts No Price Tag on Them
New York Times (11/01/17) Goodnough, Abby; Hoffman, Jan

President Trump's bipartisan commission on the opioid crisis made dozens of final recommendations on Wednesday to combat a deadly addiction epidemic, ranging from creating more drug courts to vastly expanding access to medications that treat addiction, including in jails. The commissioners did not specify how much money should be spent to carry out their suggestions, but they pressed Congress to "appropriate sufficient funds" in response to Mr. Trump's declaration last week of a public health emergency.


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