ASCA News Digest (June 24, 2014)

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June 24, 2014


ASCA Highlights

Industry News


ASCA Highlights

Last Chance to Submit Your ASCA 2014 Continuing Education Hours Online

If you attended ASCA 2014 in Nashville, you have until Monday, June 30, 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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The CASC (Certified Administrator Surgery Center) credential is a distinction earned by those in the ASC industry with a comprehensive understanding of the knowledge and skills that the role of an ASC administrator requires. The next exam will be offered on Saturday, October 11, 2014, at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona as part of ASCA's 2014 Fall Seminar. Applications must be postmarked by August 30, 2014. MORE
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The data collection period for the second quarter (Q2) of the 2014 ASCA Benchmarking Program will open on Tuesday, July 1. Subscribers will receive an email alerting them when they can begin to submit data. The collection period will close July 31. If you haven’t purchased your 2014 subscription yet, there is still time to sign up. MORE
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Planning has begun for ASCA 2015 to be held in Orlando, May 13–16, 2015. Your ideas for session topics and speakers are an invaluable part of determining the exceptional educational content that the meeting provides every year. Submissions for ASCA 2014 will be accepted through July 31, 2014. MORE
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Even though ASCs were not provided with incentive payments like those that physician offices and hospitals received for implementing electronic medical record (EMR) systems, centers are increasingly beginning to consider installing this technology. ASCA talked with an early adopter about why she believes that implementing an EMR was the right decision for her center and how adopting the new technology has affected her ASC. MORE
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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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More than 80 ASCA members from 20 states directly lobbied their members of Congress and congressional staff in support of key ASC legislation as part of ASCA’s 2014 Capitol Fly-In program. Since Wednesday’s visits, the ASC Quality and Access Act of 2013 has received an additional four cosponsors and the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act has received an additional three cosponsors. MORE
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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!

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Industry News

Estimating the Magnitude of Colorectal Cancers Prevented During the Era of Screening
Cancer (06/14) Yang, Daniel X.; Gross, Cary P.; Soulos, Pamela R.; et al.

Yale School of Medicine researchers used information from two databases to identify colorectal cancer screening trends. The researchers found that from 1987 to 2010, the percentage of adults aged 50 and older who underwent screening increased from 34.8 percent to 66.1 percent, which included increases in colonoscopies. The incidence of late-stage colorectal cancer during this time decreased from 118 to 74 cases per 100,000 population, while the incidence of early-stage colorectal cancer decreased from 77 to 67 cases per 100,000 population. After adjusting for underlying trends in cancer incidence, colorectal screening was associated with a reduction of approximately 550,000 cases of colorectal cancer from 1976 to 2009 in the United States.
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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.
'Save Our Veterans' PDX (06/16/14) Burger, Forrest

The Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center (OOSC) is launching in July a program to provide free surgical services to qualified veterans. According to Jesseye Arrambide, RN, executive director of the Portland center, the Save Our Veterans program is about helping veterans who are experiencing delays in care from Veterans Administration hospitals around the nation. The OOSC is working with veterans groups to help identify eligible candidates. First priority will be given to servicemen who have been wounded in combat, followed by servicemen who have been on the waiting list at the VA and require care. The OOSC's Dr. Richard Edelson says the center will offer the program one day each quarter, which could equal about 15 surgeries. "These people need to be helped," he says. "We as a society benefit greatly from all of their sacrifices, and at some point you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'I have the ability to help these individuals, why am I not doing it?'"
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Health Insurers Pressing Down on Drug Prices
New York Times (06/21/14) P. A1 Pollack, Andrew

An increasing number of health plans are saying they will not cover certain drug treatments unless the pharmaceutical manufacturers lower the prices. The move comes as pharmacy benefit management firms try to deal with soaring prices, particularly for "specialty pharmaceuticals," which are used to treat complex diseases. According to Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefits manager, spending on specialty drugs increased by about 14 percent in 2013, with even higher increases in previous years, largely due to price increases on older drugs. For their part, drug firms generally note that the price is a reflection of the value of the drug, and they note that insurers and government programs generally pay below list price.
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HIMSS Offers ICD-10 Financial Tool Suite
Health Data Management (06/19/2014) Goth, Greg

Providers will be able to turn to two updated tools from the HIMSS ICD-10 Task Force for help in focusing their programs and re-planning their budgets for the 2015 compliance date. The ICD-10 Financial Tool Suite combines the ICD-10 Cost Prediction Model and the ICD-10 Financial Risk Calculator into one widget on the ICD-10 Playbook landing page. The new version of the cost prediction model, which will be available in the next few weeks, will account for the shifts in training, testing, remediation and project management related to the delay. The calculator will enable organizations to isolate areas within the revenue cycle that are vulnerable to the ICD-10 transition and use this information to prioritize conversion efforts.
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Effect of Using a Safety Checklist on Patient Complications After Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Anesthesiology (06/14) Vol. 120, No. 6, P. 1380 Gillespie, Brigid M.; Chaboyer, Wendy; Thalib, Lukman; et al.

Recent findings indicate there is a correlation between checklist use in surgery and fewer postoperative complications. To examine the impact of surgical checklists on complication rates, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of seven studies involving more than 37,000 patients. The researchers found that the use of checklists in surgery in comparison with standard practice led to a reduction in any complication, wound infection, and blood loss. There were, however, no significant reductions observed in mortality, pneumonia, or unplanned return to operating room.
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Shortage of Saline Solution Has Hospitals On Edge
National Public Radio (06/22/14) Dembosky, April

As hospitals nationwide face a shortage of saline solution, manufacturers say they will not be able to meet demand until next year. Many hospitals are close to running out of a form of methotrexate that is used to inject doses of certain cancer treatments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sets strict quality standards for facilities that manufacture saline and other IV drugs, but some suppliers say adhering to these standards is difficult. Colin Carthen, procurement director for Satellite Healthcare, which runs 70 dialysis centers, says he was told by manufacturer Baxter that winter weather played a role in slowing shipments of saline solution. The price of saline is currently steady because hospitals have contracts to lock in rates through next year, but when those contracts expire, hospitals could potentially pay two or three times as much.
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Wichita Collaborative Announces Citywide Effort for Surgical Safety
Wesley Medical Center (06/11/14)

The Medical Society of Sedgwick County's Wichita Quality Health Collaborative (WQHC) has coordinated an initiative among local health care providers to develop universally accepted surgical time-out protocols for use in operating rooms and ambulatory facilities throughout the city of Wichita, Kan. The WQHC Surgical Safety Committee spent a year researching utilization of time-out procedures nationally, devising common procedures and materials, producing training videos, and establishing compliance routines. The final format was then tested by leaders from Wesley Medical Center and Via Christi Health, who developed an educational protocol to ensure time-out checklists are employed for every procedure and for every patient. "Developing a common time-out process and checklist that is consistently used wherever the surgery or procedure is performed will reduce the risk of errors and improve patient safety," says Surgical Safety Committee Chair Randall Morgan.
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Outpatient Endoscopy Center to Open on Cox Road This Year
Gaston Gazette (NC) (06/16/14) Barrett, Michael

An outpatient ambulatory surgery clinic with two gastrointestinal endoscopy rooms is expected to open this year in the Gastonia, N.C., retail strip known as The Arboretum. The Greater Gaston Center will be managed by Physicians Endoscopy, which owns and runs 35 endoscopy centers across the nation. Physicians Endoscopy CEO Barry Tanner says the centers aim to give patients better care and more options at less cost. The opening of the clinic was delayed by nearly four years due to court action by CaroMont Health, which saw the venture as competition.
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New Cincinnati Surgery Center to Create 50 Jobs
Cincinnati Business Courier (06/13/14) Brunsman, Barrett J.

The Laser Spine Institute plans to open a surgical center in Cincinnati in the first quarter of 2015 to treat people with chronic neck or back pain. The Walnut Hills surgical center will create up to 50 jobs, including medical and office staff positions, which will be filled within three months of its opening. The Laser Spine Institute specializes in minimally invasive procedures, which it describes as cost-effective alternatives to traditional open surgery. The Florida-based company--which has surgery centers in Tampa, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, and Scottsdale, Ariz.--also plans to open centers in Cleveland and St. Louis.
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Analysis Reveals Most Common Harm Events Associated With High Rates of Mortality, Costs and Length of Stay
Premier Press Release (06/12/14)

An analysis of 5.5 million patient records by Premier Inc. identified 86 common complications associated with patient deaths, higher costs, or longer lengths of stay and found that dozens of potentially avoidable hospital complications occur frequently but are not tracked by the government. The report shows that heart attacks, sepsis, and acute kidney failure are some of the conditions that occur more often than the hospital-acquired conditions considered by the federal government when setting Medicare payments for hospitals. The conditions identified by the report cost $4.3 billion to treat, with nearly 50,000 potential deaths and 1.7 million added hospital days.
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More Than 750 Hospitals Face Medicare Crackdown on Patient Injuries
Kaiser Health News (06/22/14) Rau, Jordan

Some 761 U.S. hospitals are facing a possible federal crackdown on patient infections and injuries by having 1 percent of every Medicare payment withheld for a year starting in October. Medical facilities that are more likely to be assessed penalties include publicly-owned hospitals and those that treat large volumes of low-income patients, along with large hospitals, urban hospitals, and those in the West and Northeast parts of the United States. The nation's leading teaching hospitals may be hit the most, as 54 percent of such institutions are tagged for preliminary penalties, says Harvard School of Public Health professor Ashish Jha. Hospitals could stand to lose as much as 5.4 percent of their Medicare payments starting this fall with the entrenchment of the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, working in conjunction with two other pay-for-performance hospital programs mandated by the 2010 federal health law.
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Premiums Rise at Big Insurers, Fall at Small Rivals Under Health Law
Wall Street Journal (06/19/14) P. A1 Radnofsky, Louise

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 2015 health insurance rate filings in 10 states shows that the largest health insurer in all but one state has proposed premium hikes between 8.5 percent and 22.8 percent. However, insurers with the smallest enrollments are looking to attract customers by cutting rates, which means consumers will have to decide this fall whether to stay in their plans and pay higher premiums or switch plans to save money. Experts say carriers with the biggest market share believe there is room to boost rates, but insurance commissioners in several states have the authority to negotiate with companies over their proposed rates, and the health law requires insurers in other states to issue public justifications for proposed increases above 10 percent. The Obama Administration's design of the re-enrollment process for those who purchased coverage this year likely will determine whether consumers keep or switch their plans for next year.
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