ASCA News Digest (September 29, 2015)

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September 29, 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

ASC Legislation Introduced in US Senate

Last week, US Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act of 2015, intended to preserve patient access to the high-quality, cost-effective healthcare services that ASCs provide. MORE
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ICD-10 will go into effect less than two days from now at 12:01 am on Thursday, October 1. The revised code will test ASCs in three areas: physician readiness, budgets and contingency plans. While many ASCs have educated their staff and physicians, in some cases, the disconnect still lies with disseminating specific documentation deficiencies to all physicians actively performing cases.

The true impact of ICD-10 will not be felt until it goes live. In the meantime, visit ASCA’s ICD-10 Resource Center to make sure all your ducks are in a row for the big day.

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ASCA's 2015 Fall Seminar begins next week, Thursday, October 8, in Louisville, Kentucky. Online registration has closed, but there is still an opportunity for those who have not registered to do so on-site at the event. The program will offer educational sessions on key topics that drive development and daily operations at your ASC, lively networking opportunities, continuing education contact hours and the CASC review course and exam.
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Learn the details of carrier specific payment methods and obstacles that impact your revenue during ASCA's next webinar, October 13 at 1:00 pm ET. Lisa Rock, President of National Medical Billing Services, will present “How to Take Full Advantage of Managed Care Contracts Throughout Your Revenue Cycle,” a step by step process of reviewing how your managed care contracts look through the eyes of your billing team. This webinar is free to all ASCA members. MORE
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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan proposed cutting the ASC new and three-year renewal license fee from $3,000 to $1,000. ASCA joined the Maryland Ambulatory Surgery Association (MASA) in supporting the proposed cut and called on its members to do the same. MORE
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Simplify your patient collections
Navicure® Payments™ can help your ASC collect more revenue from patients faster and with less effort. The solution facilitates:
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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.

A group of industry experts, including ASCA Chief Executive Officer William Prentice, will convene at Nossman LLP's second annual West Cost Ambulatory Surgery Center Seminar to discuss a range of topics, including obtaining higher acuity of care, trends in ASC mergers and acquisitions, tips for managed care contracting and insight into unique human resources issues. MORE
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The results of ASCA's 2015 Salary and Benefits Survey are now available. The final report includes national, regional and state data on 20 ASC job positions, employee benefits and ASC demographics. ASCs can use this information to determine how their ASC's compensation package compares to similar ASCs and to attract and retain the best employees. ASCs that completed more than 50 percent of the survey can access the results for free. Others can purchase access to the online survey results. MORE
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ASCA recently submitted comments in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) physician payment rule. The response to the rule included comments regarding the advisability of and appropriate payment rates for cataract and endoscopic sinus surgery in the office setting as an alternative to the ASC and hospital outpatient department. As with all surgical procedures performed on an outpatient basis, ASCA’s primary concern is that these procedures continue to be performed in an environment that has policies and protocols in place addressing patient safety. MORE
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The public comment period for proposed revisions to the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care’s (AAAHC) Standards for 2016 is underway. AAAHC encourages all interested parties to review and provide comments on existing AAAHC standards and proposed revisions by 5:00 pm CT on October 16. Click here to access the document and submit feedback. MORE

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Industry News

Government Shutdown Won't Affect ICD-10 Rollout, CMS Says
Health Data Management (09/25/15) Slabodkin, Greg

Despite the possibility of a federal government shutdown in October, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says its new ICD-10 Coordination Center will continue to operate, as will claims processing systems. Created to manage and triage issues arising from the October 1 code compliance deadline, the center will not be affected by the fact that the federal fiscal year ends on September 30 and agencies could run out of money. CMS officials made the announcement on Thursday during a conference call with members of the press.
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CMS Awards $110 Million in Affordable Care Act Funding to Continue Improvements in Patient Safety
CMS Press Release (09/25/15)

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded $110 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 17 national, regional, or state hospital associations and health system organizations to continue efforts in reducing preventable hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions. Through the Partnership for Patients initiative--a nationwide public-private collaboration that began in 2011 to reduce preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and 30-day readmissions by 20 percent--the second round of the Hospital Engagement Networks will continue to work to improve patient care in the hospital setting.
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Price Transparency Program Helped UCSF Surgeons Cut Case Costs
Spine Surgery Today (09/28/15)

More than 95% of nurses and residents polled agreed surgeons have the opportunity to control costs during a procedure, but data in a study presented here showed only slightly more than 50% of surgeons polled were aware of alternatives available to them to cut costs. However, a program of providing surgeons with price transparency for their procedures is one way costs can be driven down, according to Corinna C. Zygourakis, MD, of San Francisco.
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Sterile Compounded Products by US Compounding, Inc: Recall - Lack of Sterility Assurance
FDA MedWatch (09/24/15)

US Compounding, Inc. is voluntarily recalling all lots of sterile products aseptically compounded and packaged by USC and that remain within expiry due to FDA concern over a lack of sterility assurance. The sterile products were distributed nationwide to patients, providers, hospitals, or clinics between March 14, 2015 and September 9, 2015.
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Aetna, United, Surgical Centers Win Dismissal of Antitrust Case
Reuters (09/22/15) Pierson, Brandan

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a group of ambulatory surgical centers in California accusing Aetna Life Insurance Co, United Healthcare Services Inc. and seven rival surgical centers of conspiring to shut them out of the market. U.S. District Judge Beth Freeman of the Northern District of California ruled Monday that the plaintiff surgical centers' allegations were "conclusory," though she gave them leave to amend their lawsuit.
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State Launches New Health Cost Comparison Tool for Consumers
Sacramento Bee (09/21/15) Buck, Claudia

In another effort to shed more light on health care costs, California consumers got a new online tool Monday to make it easier to compare medical costs and quality ratings in their neighborhood. "Consumers have been in the dark for a long time" about health care costs and quality ratings, said state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who introduced the California Healthcare Compare tool at a San Francisco news conference.
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Consumer Choice Between Hospital-Based and Freestanding Facilities for Arthroscopy
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (09/16/2015) Vol. 97, No. 18, P. 1473 Robinson, James C.; Brown, Timothy T.; Whaley, Christopher; et al.

Hospital-based outpatient departments traditionally charge higher prices for ambulatory procedures, compared with freestanding surgery centers. Under emerging reference-based benefit designs, insurers establish a contribution limit that they will pay, requiring the patient to pay the difference between that contribution limit and the actual price charged by the facility.
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Infections Associated With Reprocessed Flexible Bronchoscopes: FDA Safety Communication (09/17/15)

The purpose of this communication is to share preliminary information regarding infections associated with the use of reprocessed flexible bronchoscopes. Although this information is limited, health care providers may benefit from awareness of the issues we are seeing and of steps they can take to mitigate possible risks to patients.
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Aetna, Anthem CEOs Tell Senate That Mergers With Humana and Cigna Won't Stifle Competition
Healthcare Payer News (09/24/2015) Morse, Susan

Mark T. Bertolini, chairman and CEO of Aetna in Hartford, Connecticut and Joseph R. Swedish, president and CEO of Anthem in Indianapolis, argued before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights on Tuesday that local insurance plans would keep the industry competitive. The CEOs of Aetna and Anthem defended their respective multi-billion dollar merger plans before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee this week, hoping to assuage concerns that the deals to consolidate Aetna and Humana and Anthem and Cigna would lessen competition and drive up costs.
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The Hill (09/24/15) Williams, Katie Bo

The federal government stored the sensitive personal data of millions of people who purchased insurance through ObamaCare on a network with basic cybersecurity flaws, a federal audit revealed Thursday., the much-maligned federal exchange for health care coverage, suffered from a number of security issues, according to the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
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Survey Reveals Sources of Physician Worry
AAFP News Now (09/08/15) Laff, Michael

A new survey revealed that key sources of headaches for primary care physicians are insurance companies and new performance measurements, not patient care. In the annual survey( conducted by the Commonwealth Fund and the Kaiser Family Foundation, primary care physicians were asked their opinions on issues ranging from payment reform to health IT to insurance billing.
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