ASCA News Digest (June 17, 2014)

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June 17, 2014


ASCA Highlights

Industry News


ASCA Highlights

Location Announced for ASCA’s 2014 Fall Seminar

ASCA’s 2014 Fall Seminar will take place October 9–11, 2014, at the Talking Stick Resort—a Four-Diamond resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. This in-depth seminar will offer educational sessions on key topics that drive development and daily operations at your ASC, networking opportunities, continuing education contact hours and the CASC Review Course and Exam. MORE
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When an ASC is working to establish a culture of safety, the focus needs to be on creating an environment where staff feel free to discuss patient safety issues and errors without the fear of retribution or blame. Facilities that successfully implement a culture of safety and improve quality reap many benefits. MORE
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More than 85 ASCA members will be meeting with their members of Congress and directly lobbying for the ASC community as part of ASCA’s Capitol Fly-In Program tomorrow. Representing 20 states, your colleagues will be meeting with close to 150 congressional offices. Register now for the September Fly-In, September 9-10. MORE
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If you attended ASCA 2014 in Nashville, you have until June 30, 2014, to submit your continuing education credits online. To submit online, you will need your ID number located on the back of your attendee badge. (If you no longer have your badge, you can request your ID number by sending an email to MORE
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Many experts have released studies or reports recently that conclude ASCs save billions while maintaining high-quality surgical care. ASCA’s Advancing Surgical Care web site now features a “What the Experts Are Saying” webpage that aggregates all of these findings in one location. MORE
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CMS has proposed changes to fire prevention requirements for certain health care facilities, including the adoption of the National Fire Protection Association’s 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code and the Health Care Facilities Code. CMS needs to hear from individual ASCs about why some of the considered changes to the fire prevention requirements would be overly burdensome for ASCs. MORE
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Industry News

Bridgeport Surgery Center Offers Free Program for Veterans
The Times (Tigard, Ore.) (06/12/14) Pursinger, Geoff

The Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center in Bridgeport has launched a program to help veterans in need of surgery. The "Save Our Veterans" program hopes to reduce the backlog of cases at the Portland VA Medical Center, providing veterans with free surgeries as well as free pre- and post-treatment, including medical services and supplies. "I strongly believe that every veteran deserves the highest quality health care," said Dr. Richard Edelson, an orthopedic surgeon at the clinic. Although the program does not officially begin until July 4, U.S. Army veteran Evan Johnson has already undergone surgery on his ankle, with a recovery time expected to be only about six months, compared to the full year he had been expecting with the VA.
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GO GREEN! SELL, TRADE OR UPGRADE YOUR MEDICAL EQUIPMENT! The Alternative Source Medical is a long standing, established vendor, and distributor of pre-owned, warrantied refurbished and new medical exam equipment. We also are a great resource to turn your decommissioned, unused medical equipment into cash. No fees! No contracts! Learn more at

Ensuring Patient Safety with Capnography
The RespSense™ and LifeSense® capnography monitors are simple-to-use, cost-effective tools that help you ensure your patients are adequately ventilated during sedated dental procedures. The monitors provide continuous and reliable monitoring to help identify potentially life-threatening ventilation status changes such as respiratory depression during dental procedures on sedated patients.

Simplify your business office operations. Surgical Notes is a nationwide provider of transcription, coding, and document management applications. The ASC industry’s largest management companies and roughly 20,000 healthcare providers trust Surgical Notes to provide customer-focused solutions that eliminate manual processes, streamline workflow, and accelerate the revenue cycle. Visit us at or call 800-459-5616 today!
Nashville-Based Symbion Selling for $792 Million
Tennessean (06/13/14) Williams, Lance

Surgery Center Holdings Inc. is acquiring Nashville-based Symbion for $792 million. The buyer, which operates under the name Surgery Partners, has 44 surgery centers and six surgical hospitals in the United States. With the acquisition, the combined firm will have about 100 centers in 30 states. This deal comes on the heels of Nashville-based Amsurg Corp.'s $2.35 billion purchase of Florida-based Sheridan Healthcare, enabling Amsurg to take advantage of the increasing physician outsourcing market.
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Testimony Raises Plenty of Concerns About ICD-10 Delays
Fierce HealthIT (06/11/14) Hall, Susan D.

Several stakeholders testified on June 11 in Washington, D.C., before the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics Subcommittee on Standards to discuss the ICD-10 delay. John Powers, chief administrative information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to stress administrative simplification. He said his institution has concerns about coding productivity under ICD-10 because its testing has identified productivity loss of up to 50 percent. Moreover, his institution has concerns about clinical documentation and the loss of experienced coders. Powers said there is a need for sophisticated coding software and specialized compliance specialists to oversee the process.
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USPO Job Post   Clinical Director Opening
USPI is seeking a Clinical Director for The Center for Ambulatory Surgical Treatment in Westwood, CA. Will direct all aspects of the clinical functions, processes and staff. Requires a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing or (Nursing or Master’s degree a plus.) Minimum three years management experience in the health field required.  Apply at or FAX 972-692-8099.  EOE.
ICD-10 Test Results Post 89 Percent Acceptance Rate (06/09/14) Buck, Chuck

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the results of the ICD-10 claims acknowledgement tests that were conducted in early March. All of the 2,600 participants received electronic acknowledgements for the roughly 127,000 ICD-10 claims that were submitted to Medicare Fee-for-service claims systems, while 89 percent of those claims were accepted. However, acceptance rates were as high as 99 percent in some parts of the country, CMS said. Some of the claims that were submitted by participants--which included both large and small doctors' practices as well as ambulatory surgical centers--deliberately included errors that would result in the claims being rejected. CMS said in a report detailing the results of the testing that providers, suppliers, billing companies, and clearinghouses can submit acknowledgement test claims up until ICD-10 goes live on Oct. 15, 2015, though it recommended that they may want to hold off on acknowledgement testing until after Medicare updates its systems on Oct. 6.
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Surgery Prices--Going Public: Hospital and Surgery Center Prices for 5 New Facilities Now on
PRWeb (06/10/14)

Current prices for a growing number of surgery centers and hospitals across the country can be found at, which began hosting facility price lists earlier this year and is expanding into a growing number of states. Facilities in five states (California, Georgia, Virginia, Nebraska, and Utah) have added cash-pay prices to Pricing Healthcare's open, direct-pay marketplace.
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20 Ways to Cut Your Health Care Costs
Yahoo! Finance (06/09/14) Lankford, Kimberly

Consumers can achieve cost savings by asking their physician about cheaper facilities, such as outpatient surgery centers. The surgeon's charge will be the same irrespective of where a surgery is performed, but "the hospital's fees can vary by thousands of dollars," notes Cigna's Jackie Aube. She says the average cost nationwide for a colonoscopy, GI endoscopy, or arthroscopy in a hospital is $2,548, but the average cost at an outpatient surgery center is $959. The selected facility should be inside the insurer's network.
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Surgical Care Affiliates to Move Offices From Hoover to Brookwood Center in Homewood (06/09/14) Diel, Stan

Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA) is shifting its offices in the Birmingham, Ala., metropolitan area from the Galleria Tower in Hoover to Brookwood Center. SCA oversees 175 surgery departments, ambulatory surgery centers, and surgical hospitals that employ approximately 2,000 physicians in 42 health systems. SCA has leased 47,870 square feet of office space on the top two floors of the Homewood building, it said in a prepared statement. "We have been looking in the market for some time now and this building offered the right mix of location, quality, and environment for our teammates," said Pete Clemens, SCA's executive vice president and CFO in the statement.
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The HARM Score: A Novel, Easy Measure to Evaluate Quality and Outcomes in Colorectal Surgery
Annals of Surgery (06/14) Vol. 259, No. 6, P. 1119 Keller, Deborah S.; Chien, Hung-Lun; Hashemi, Lobat; et al.

Researchers recently sought to develop a measurement tool based on the HospitAl stay, Readmission, and Mortality rates (HARM) score, which is determined by using routine administrative data. Researchers used a national inpatient database to review colectomy discharges from 2010 to 2011 based on such factors as of length of stay, vital status, and 30-day readmissions. The HARM score was correlated to the complication rate to test validity. After evaluating a total of 81,622 colectomy discharges, the researchers concluded that the HARM score is an easy, reliable, and valid way to assess quality in colorectal surgery. The HARM score also may provide a low-cost solution for comparative quality assessments in surgery.
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Patient Safety and the Surgery Checklist
OR Today (06/01/2014) Sadler, Don

The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) has developed a Comprehensive Surgical Checklist that includes the safety checks outlined in the World Health Organization's Surgical Safety Checklist in addition to the safety checks within The Joint Commission's Universal Protocol. The AORN Comprehensive Surgical Checklist uses color codes to signify guidelines from both bodies as well as places where the two overlap. The AORN checklist is applicable at all types of facilities, including hospital ORs, ambulatory surgery centers, and physicians' offices. The checklist can be obtained at no cost at AORN's Web site. "It offers guidance for pre-procedure check-in, sign-in, time out, and sign out," says AORN's CEO and executive director Linda Groah.
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Reduce Costs With Selective Pre-Op Testing
Anesthesiology News (06/01/14) Vol. 40, No. 6 Bufano, Paul

The appropriate use of preoperative testing was the focus of an interdisciplinary panel of physicians that recently convened at the New York Academy of Medicine. The session was scheduled after the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation listed five medical services of dubious value, including preoperative testing for patients undergoing routine surgery. Panelist Deborah Korenstein, editor of ACP Smart Medicine, said: "There is strong evidence that pre-op testing does not change outcomes or surgery cancellation rates for patients undergoing minor procedures like cataract surgery," and she noted that testing can have both physical and non-physical effects, such as bleeding and false-positive results that trigger anxiety or surgical delays. Meanwhile, panelist Tomas Heimann at James J. Peters VA Medical Center in New York City said the problem is not that pre-op testing is useless, but that unneeded tests are often performed, so it is important that the tests are of clinical benefit.
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Hospitals Push Bundled Care as the Billing Plan of the Future
Wall Street Journal (06/09/14) Beck, Melinda

Hospitals have traditionally charged patients separately for every service and supply used, but as health care providers turn to bundled payments, patient bills could become simpler. In bundled payments, hospitals charge one overall price for everything involved in care, including pre-op tests and post-op care. If hospitals deliver the care for less, they keep the savings, but if care costs more, hospitals have to absorb those additional costs. Supporters say bundled payments provide incentives for doctors and hospitals to work closer together to keep costs low and reduce complications. Currently, 350 health care organizations are participating in pilot bundled-payment programs with Medicare, covering 48 health conditions, and some states are experimenting with bundled payments in their Medicaid programs.
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Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure
Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (06/05/14)

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has released a paper outlining the ONC's 10-year vision and framework for interoperability for health IT stakeholders. The plan's three-year target is to implement the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which seeks to strengthen existing health information networks and enable the exchange of health information across vendor platforms. In six years, health care entities should be using IT to demonstrate better health outcomes to curb health care costs, while in 10 years, a "learning health system" should enable the assessment of aggregated data from multiple sources.
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