Government Affairs Update


April 16, 2015

< Recent Issues

SGR Repeal Passes Congress, Now Goes to President to Become Law

Key ASC Legislation Builds Momentum in US House of Representatives

CMS Releases Surveyor Memo on Duodenoscope Reprocessing

Even with Extension, ASC-8 Reporting Deadline Still Looms

Joint Commission Proposes Requirements for Total Joint Certification Program

CAMPAIGN UPDATE – Are You In for 2015?

ASCAPAC Board Announces 2015 Member Celebration Event

Sign Up for the ASCA 2015 5k in Orlando

In the Media

SGR Repeal Passes Congress, Now Goes to President to Become Law

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 92-8 to repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. The SGR was enacted by Congress in 1997 as a way of controlling Medicare spending on physician services. Since 2002, Congress has prevented enforcement of the SGR 17 times, thereby avoiding double digit payment cuts for physicians. The legislation now goes to President Obama to sign into law, which he has publicly indicated he will do. This historic achievement was a result of bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.


CMS previously announced it would begin processing physician claims on April 15, 2015, on a rolling basis. While the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) have been instructed to implement the rates in the legislation, a small volume of claims have been processed at the reduced rate based on the negative update amount. The MACs will automatically reprocess claims paid at the reduced rate with the new payment rate. No action is necessary from providers who have already submitted claims for the impacted dates of service.


Thank you for your phone calls, emails and messages to Congress. The permanent repeal of the SGR would not have happened without your efforts on Capitol Hill.


For more information on the SGR, contact Kristin Murphy at kmurphy@ascassociation.org.


Key ASC Legislation Builds Momentum in US House of Representatives

US Representatives Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Scott Tipton (R-CO) joined a growing list of cosponsors for the ASC Quality and Access Act of 2015 (H.R. 1453) this week. The bill now has 30 cosponsors.


The ASC Quality and Access Act of 2015 would:


• Fix a flaw in current law that allows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to use different measures of inflation for ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) when setting rates, unfairly penalizing the lower cost provider. This improvement would discourage the migration of the procedures ASCs perform to the more expensive HOPD setting and encourage additional cost savings to Medicare and its beneficiaries

 

• Require transparency in quality reporting and require CMS to publish relevant quality data in a way that is accessible to patients

 

• Direct CMS to add a representative of the ASC community to its Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment because decisions made by the panel affect both HOPD and ASC Medicare reimbursement rates

 

• Require CMS to disclose which of six criteria triggers the exclusion of a procedure from the ASC approved list


Members of Congress are more likely to cosponsor legislation if they hear from their constituents. Help build momentum around this important legislation by contacting your representatives and senators and asking them to become cosponsors of the ASC Quality and Access Act of 2015.


For more information, contact Kristin Murphy at kmurphy@ascassociation.org.


CMS Releases Surveyor Memo on Duodenoscope Reprocessing

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a Surveyor Memo indicating that specialized endoscopes known as duodenoscopes, that are used to perform endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), are difficult to clean and disinfect and have been implicated in recent outbreaks. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also issued a Safety Communication warning that the design of a duodenoscope may impede effective cleaning.


The memo cites the Multisociety Guideline on Reprocessing Flexible Gastrointestinal Endoscopes (Multisociety Guidance) as evidence-based recommendations for endoscope reprocessing that facilities should follow. ASCs should review their policies and records to ensure that they are using nationally recognized practice guidelines and that they are adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions for use.


Surveyors are instructed to “observe endoscopes being reprocessed and should ask the responsible to staff to demonstrate how they are adhering to manufacturers’ instructions and the Multisociety Guidance recommendations. Any identified noncompliance must be cited accordingly, and the increased risk to patient safety resulting from improper reprocessing should be taken into consideration when determining the appropriate level of citation.”


For more information, contact Kara Newbury at knewbury@ascassocaition.org.


Even with Extension, ASC-8 Reporting Deadline Still Looms

As previously reported, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the reporting deadline for ASC-8: Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel until August 15, 2015. In order to report, facilities must enroll in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).


Facilities that have not started the enrollment process should do so immediately. To submit data, ASCs must enroll in NHSN a minimum of eight weeks before the August 15, 2015 deadline. ASCA has heard that it can take more than a month to enroll.


ASCA has a great resource on its web site, ASC-8: What You Need to Know to Successfully Report, that includes a link to NHSN training slides which provide instructions on enrollment and reporting. If after reviewing this document you still have questions related to NHSN enrollment or reporting, please contact the NHSN Helpdesk at NHSN@cdc.gov, including “HPS Flu Summary-ASC.”


For more information, contact Kara Newbury at knewbury@ascassocaition.org.


Joint Commission Proposes Requirements for Total Joint Certification Program

The Joint Commission recently announced the development of a “new optional certification program for accredited organizations that will support quality, consistency, and safety throughout the pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative phases of care.” The Proposed Requirements for a New Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement Advanced Certification Program address quality and safety standards for “each of those phases for patients undergoing total hip and total knee replacement procedures.”


The deadline for submitting comments on the proposed requirements is May 19, 2015. Contact Celeste Pierre, Division of Standards and Survey Methods, at 630.792.5902 or cpierre@jointcommission.org with any questions.


CAMPAIGN UPDATE – Are You In for 2015?

 

The “Are You In?” campaign is reaching peak momentum in its final few weeks. Dozens of individuals and ASC facilities have contributed $36,660 since the campaign kicked off last month.


With four weeks left until this campaign concludes in Orlando, we are only $13,340 away from reaching our $50,000 goal. Will you join us? Every contribution, whether it is $50 or $5000, makes a difference when all of us participate.


Learn more about the “Are You In?” campaign online.

 



 

ASCAPAC Board Announces 2015 Member Celebration Event

The ASCAPAC Board is pleased to announce this year’s contributor celebration event. All current ASCAPAC members, those who have contributed since May 15, 2014, are invited to attend.


Sign Up for the ASCA 2015 5k in Orlando

Regular runners and first-timers alike are welcome to participate in the ASCA 5k Fun Run/Walk at ASCA 2015 in Orlando. The race, sponsored by SourceMedical, will take place Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. and will be a great way to get your body moving and energized for the rest of the day. Sign up today.


All race participants will receive an ASCA 5k t-shirt and reusable water bottle and prizes will be awarded to the three fastest men and women runners. Prizes will also be given to the first five attendees to reach 40,000 steps while wearing the ASCA 2015 Pedometer.


ASCA members can still take advantage of registration discounts for the meeting, so don’t miss out on the most popular ASC event of the year. ASCA 2015 will feature invaluable networking opportunities and educational sessions that will cover the most talked about topics in ASC practice and management.


Hotel rooms are also filling fast, so make sure to book your hotel reservation online or by calling 855.623.2116 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET.


In the Media

A Make-or-Break Obamacare Moment

The Wall Street Journal


Has Obamacare Turned Voters Against Sharing the Wealth?

The New York Times


IBM Positions Itself as Large Broker of Health Data

The Wall Street Journal



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