ASCA News Digest (November 3, 2015)

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November 3, 2015


ASCA Highlights

Industry News

  • 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.
  • Times are changing for ASCs. Click here to learn 10 reasons why your ASC needs an EMR now!
  • Four Key Features to Look For in a Modern Office Management System. Click here to download the free eBook.
  • Make sure to follow AmkaiSolutions on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

ASCA Highlights

Register for ASCA’s 2016 Winter Coding Seminar

Essential to learning best coding practices in a post-ICD-10 environment, ASCA’s 2016 Winter Coding Seminar will take place January 14—16 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Join your fellow ASC professionals to prepare for the coding and billing changes in 2016 and discuss the changes that took place this year. Register today to make sure you’re receiving the reimbursements you deserve.
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As ASCA reported last Friday, CMS released its final 2016 ASC payment rule on October 30. ASC payment rates will increase by 0.3 percent in 2016, based on a projected rate of inflation of 0.8 percent minus a 0.5 percentage point productivity adjustment required by the Affordable Care Act. This payment update is significantly lower than the 1.1 percent update in the proposed rule. CMS did finalize the addition of seventeen new codes to the ASC-payable list. ASCA will provide members with a more detailed analysis of the rule this week.
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Mark your calendar for ASCA 2016, Thursday to Sunday, May 19—22, in Dallas, Texas. As the largest and most comprehensive industry meeting of the year, ASCA 2016 offers valuable insight into a wide range of popular topics in ASC practice and management to help ASC owners, administrators, physicians and staff tackle the biggest challenges they face.
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In an effort to raise awareness of the value ASCs provide to both Medicare and its beneficiaries, ASCA launched a social media campaign last week highlighting the high-quality, cost-efficient care ASCs provide to the community. This campaign, called “ASCs are Part of the Solution,” highlights the value proposition ASCs provide to our nation’s seniors.

Help promote this campaign by liking us on Facebook and sharing the post. Also, follow us on twitter, @ASCAssociation, and retweet our messages about the campaign.

For more information about ASCA’s social media presence, write Brian Stevenson at For more information about this campaign, write Jesse Chimes at
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Renew your ASCA membership through the new online portal using a credit card or check by December 31 to receive 10 percent off an ASCA Benchmarking subscription.

If you have questions concerning the membership renewal, contact Renee Harris-Etheridge at 703.636.0609 or
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AW0275-MedIQ CME/CE Webcast: Selecting Intraoperative Opioids

Watch this CME/CE Webcast, sponsored by Med-IQ, to explore strategies that address the challenges of balancing cost, safety, and efficacy when selecting short-acting intravenous opioid anesthesia regimens. This activity also presents insights on effective communication among anesthesiologists, CRNAs, and hospital-based pharmacists regarding patient needs and economic factors. WATCH TODAY

Improve Your Financial Strength with Surgical Notes!

The largest management companies and over 20,000 healthcare providers trust Surgical Notes’ cutting edge revenue cycle management solutions and services to enhance the financial strength and performance of their ASCs. Maximize profits, accelerate revenue cycles, and increase efficiency with our scalable solutions including transcription, coding, document management, and electronic health records.

Last week, congressional leaders and the Obama administration announced a bipartisan agreement on legislation that funds the federal government for two years, raises the nation’s debt ceiling and staves off Medicare premium increases for beneficiaries, among other things. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on Monday, November 2.
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ASCA's Chief Operations Officer Steve Miller and Assistant Director of Government Affairs Blake McDonald will speak at the 2015 OASCA Annual Education Conference and Trade Show on November 11 in Portland, Oregon.

Miller also will speak at the Washington Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Annual Education Conference and Trade Show on November 16 in Tulalip, Washington.
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Industry News

NJAASC Sends Delegation to Washington to Garner Support for 2 Bills to Improve Access to Care (10/29/15) Lesso, Loreen

The New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (NJAASC) recently sent a delegation to Washington, D.C. to meet with the legislative staff members of New Jersey's U.S. senators and seven congressmen to discuss their support of two bills introduced in the spring that would provide for improved access to care in ambulatory surgery centers settings. Specifically, the delegation met with Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker, as well as Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Rep. Albio Sires (NJ-08), Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Rep. Donald Payne JR (NJ-10), during their visit to Washington D.C. on September xx, 2015 to discuss H.R. 1220 the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2015 and H.R. 1453 the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act of 2015.
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Poll Finds Opposition to New Tax on Ambulatory Care Centers
CT News Junkie (10/29/15) Rosner, Cara

The vast majority of Connecticut voters are unaware of a new 6 percent provider tax levied on same-day procedures and surgeries performed at ambulatory surgery centers, but most who learn of the tax oppose it, according to a poll released this week. When polled earlier this month by Connecticut Citizens for Affordable Health Care (CCAHC), a new coalition that aims to preserve community access to community-based surgical care, 79 percent of people in the state didn't know the tax was implemented as part of the most recent state budget.
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Strategies for Optimizing OR Drug Safety
Anesthesiology News (10/01/15) Vol. 41 Meyer, Tricia A.; McAllister, Russell K.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), now the National Academy of Medicine, reported that more than 1.5 million Americans are injured every year in U.S. hospitals. Although rates differ in various hospitals and health care settings, the IOM found that, when all errors are included, hospitalized patients can expect on average more than one potential medication error each day.
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Third Year of ACA Sign-Up Starts, on Time But With Muted Fanfare
Washington Post (11/01/15) Goldstein, Amy

Enrollment in and state insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act opened smoothly and on time Sunday, although accompanied by further turbulence within a group of innovative health plans that the law pioneered. "We are starting again."
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Health Care Costs Grow Despite Decline in Use of Services
Business Insurance (10/29/15) Livingston, Shelby

Health care spending for U.S. individuals with employer-sponsored health coverage continues to grow steadily, despite the declining use of health care services, according to a report released Thursday. The new study by the Washington-based health research group Health Care Cost Institute found that health care spending for privately insured individuals younger than 65 increased 3.4 percent in 2014, compared with 3.0 percent in 2013.
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ICD-10 Transition Moves Forward (10/29/2015)

On October 1, 2015 health systems across the country transitioned to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision – ICD-10. This change will enable providers to capture more details about the health status of their patients to improve patient care and public health surveillance.
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Surgeons' Leadership Skills May Matter for Team Performance
Reuters (10/29/15) Rapaport, Lisa

When it comes to leadership skills, some surgeons may be better at coordinating specific tasks than at sharing information and encouraging cooperation, a small analysis suggests. This distinction between what's known as transactional, or task-focused, leadership versus the type known as transformational, or team-focused, may make the difference between achieving minimum standards and inspiring performances that exceed expectations, according to the study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
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Employers Offer Cash to Shop for Health Care
San Antonio Express-News (11/01/15) Murphy, Tom

Paula Bennett pockets about $3,000 a year from her employer mainly for driving around 80 miles round trip for a deal on doses of Remicade to treat her Crohn's disease. The extra income comes through SmartShopper, a program offered by some employers to provide cash to workers who choose quality health care options with lower prices.
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Health Care Workers at Heightened Risk of Hepatitis C
Reuters (10/30/15) Rapaport, Lisa

Health care workers are at higher than average risk of infection with the hepatitis C virus, a research review suggests. Compared to the general population, health workers had 60 percent greater odds of getting hepatitis C, and those who worked directly with blood had almost triple the risk, according to the analysis in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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AmSurg Increases Offer to Acquire Knoxville-Based TeamHealth
Knoxville News-Sentinel (11/02/15) Kimel, Shelley

AmSurg, a nationwide ambulatory surgery center management company, has sweetened its offer to acquire TeamHealth in a third attempt to woo the Knoxville-based health care staffing firm. AmSurg has increased its offer by $4 per TeamHealth share in cash.
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