ASCA News Digest (December 6, 2016)

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December 6, 2016


ASCA Highlights

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ASCA Highlights

Winter Seminars Registration Discount Runs Out in Less Than a Week

What you will learn at ASCA's winter seminars, January 12–14 in San Antonio, could be the difference between whether 2017 is a year to remember or one to forget. Prices go up $100 after December 12—in less than a week—so learn more and register today. Choose from three great conferences, all presented by carefully selected ASC experts: Finance & Accounting Seminar, Regulatory & Legal Risk Seminar and the Coding & Reimbursement Seminar. As a bonus, register for one winter seminar and attend any of the sessions held during the other concurrent seminars at no additional cost.
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Take advantage of December discounts to start—or continue—the search for a candidate that can positively impact your business in 2017. Seize the opportunity by visiting the ASCA Career Center today. Use the code YE30DAY to receive a 20 percent discount on a 30-day posting or code YE60DAY to receive 25 percent off a 60-day posting through December 30. Click here to get started!
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Learn what you need to do for your ASC to get paid correctly and on time for its services during ASCA's next webinar "CPT Changes 2017: What's New, Revised and Deleted." Cristina Bentin, president of Coding Compliance Management, will discuss the new CPT directives that will impact ASCs during the webinar on Tuesday, December 13, at 1:00 pm ET. With so much information to cover, the program is now slated for 1.5 hours. Participants have the potential to earn 1.5 CEU, AEU and AAPC credits.
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Become a more confident and effective leader in just a few hours at ASCA 2017—ASCA’s next annual meeting, May 3–6, in Washington, DC—by registering for one of the five pre-meeting workshops* on Wednesday, May 3: 1) CMS' Physical Environment and the “New” Life Safety Code; 2) Hot Topics in Human Resources; 3) CASC Review Course; 4) Preparing for AAAHC Accreditation; and 5) Preparing for a Joint Commission Survey. Learn more and register today!

*Additional registration is required for pre-meeting workshops.
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ASCA is seeking candidates to serve on the ASCA Board of Directors. Members also serve on the ASCA Foundation Board. If you know of an individual who has the skills, experience and the commitment to devote efforts to advocacy by serving on the ASCA/ASCA Foundation Boards and would like to make a nomination, learn the requirements here. Self-nominations are accepted.
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One Medical Passport

As part of an ASC's commitment to safely delivering quality outcomes, surgery centers must strive to establish a culture of patient-centric care. But this culture will not develop naturally. Rather, it requires hard work and commitment.

Visit the ASC Focus web site and learn about the importance of patient-centric care, and what is needed to achieve and maintain this organization-wide priority in the "digital debut" of this new column.
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Last week, the US House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by US Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), includes two key provisions that benefit Medicare patients and the physicians who care for them in ASCs.

The first provision, Section 4012, directs the US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a public, searchable web site that allows Medicare beneficiaries to compare differences in their out-of-pocket costs and in the total expenses for various surgeries when those procedures are performed in hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and ASCs.

The second provision, Section 16003, protects physicians who practice in an ASC from potential penalties tied to the Medicare meaningful use program. Current law requires Medicare providers to adopt and use certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) for a fixed percentage of their patients; unfortunately, no CEHRT is currently available for ASC encounters. As a result, physicians who bring patients to ASCs could face cuts in their professional fees even though meeting the program’s threshold is not possible in the ASC setting. This legislation protects physicians who perform surgery in ASCs and authorizes HHS to approve CEHRT for the ASC setting.

Both provisions have received broad, bipartisan support; the US Senate is expected to vote on this legislation early next week. For more information on the 21st Century Cures Act, write Kristin Murphy.
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Industry News

Could Ambulatory Surgical Centers Help Bend the Cost Curve in U.S. Health Care?
EurekAlert (12/01/16)

U.S. health care costs have more than tripled since the 1960s. Nearly one of every five dollars of national expenses are spent on health care.

Envision Healthcare and AMSURG Complete Transformational Merger
Business Wire (12/01/16)

Envision Healthcare Holdings, Inc. and AMSURG Corp. today announced the completion of their merger, originally announced on June 15, 2016. The new combined company, Envision Healthcare Corporation, brings together two leading, complementary health care companies to form one of the nation's largest provider organizations and is well-positioned to help shape the future of health care delivery.

Some GOP Voters Skittish on Full Repeal, Poll Finds
Kaiser Health News (12/01/16) Rau, Jordan

With their party gaining control of both the White House and Congress, some Republican voters are growing hesitant about outright abolition of the Affordable Care Act and instead favoring a more circumspect approach of scaling it back, according to a poll released Thursday. Republican opposition to the ACA remains strong among voters for President-elect Donald Trump, with 81 percent of his supporters viewing it unfavorably, according to the survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation that was conducted after the election.

PolicyStat   Are your Medicare policies current?

Demonstrating continuous compliance with Medicare standards just got a whole lot better. PolicyStat makes it easy to keep policies current, ensuring your patients receive the safest and highest quality care. Stop wondering if your policies are current and start managing them more efficiently.

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How to Repeal Obamacare: A Road Map for the GOP
The Heritage Foundation (11/29/16) Winfree, Paul; Blase, Brian

Over the past few years, pundits have dismissed the Republican Party's chances of repealing and replacing Obamacare. But with President-elect Donald Trump's victory Tuesday and the GOP's successful effort to keep control of Congress, conservatives now have a real chance to eliminate the health care law.

CMS Releases 2015 National Health Expenditures
CMS Press Release (12/02/16)

In 2015, per-capita health care spending grew by 5.0 percent and overall health spending grew by 5.8 percent, according to a study by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published today as a Web First by Health Affairs. Those annual rates continue to be below the rates of most years prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Feds, Retirees Get Soaked in 'Perfect Storm' of Rising Insurance Costs
Washington Post (12/05/16) Davidson, Joe

Federal employees and retirees can be excused for feeling as though they're getting soaked by what has been described as a "perfect storm" hitting their health benefits. This storm has been brewing for months, but its effects are especially noticeable now that the month-long "open season" to change selections for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) will end soon.

Keeping Medicare's Promise with MACRA
CMS Blog (12/01/16) Slavitt, Andy

Speaking before the MACRA MIPS/APM Summit, Washington, D.C. on December 1, 2016, Andy Slavitt, CMS Acting Administrator, said: So, you decided to come to Washington to see what was new and how things might be changing … I am sure we did not disappoint. I am honored to have been invited to address this summit, which I'm sure will be your first of many.

Health Law's Test Kitchen for Payment Reforms Could Offer Tool for GOP Ideas
Kaiser Health News (12/01/16) Appleby, Julie

Joint replacements, cardiac care, chemotherapy--What do those things have to do with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act? Economists and policymakers think the U.S. may be overpaying for such services, which helps drive up health care expenses for everyone.

UnitedHealth Group to Expand Hip, Knee and Spine Bundled Payments
Forbes (12/01/16)

UnitedHealth Group is expanding nationwide a new value-based way to pay doctors and hospitals for spinal surgeries and knee and hip replacements by moving to bundled payments in more than 40 markets by the end of next year. Hospitals where the surgery takes place and doctors involved in the "spine and joint solution program" will be accountable for the quality as well as the costs of care from the start of the surgery through outpatient rehabilitation or related care.

Study of Thousands of Operations Suggests That Overlapping Surgeries Are Safe
Science Daily (12/01/2016)

A common way of scheduling surgeries to expand patient access to care and improve hospital efficiency, known as "overlapping surgeries," is as safe and provides the same outcomes for patients as non-overlapping surgeries, a Mayo Clinic study has found. Spacing operations so a surgeon has two patients in operating rooms at the same time is a common practice in surgery at Mayo and other leading medical institutions.

Doctors' Letter Blasts AMA for Endorsement of Price for HHS (12/01/16) Caffrey, Mary

At least 2,100 physicians have signed a letter criticizing the American Medical Association (AMA) for its quick endorsement of U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) to be the next HHS Secretary. Price, an orthopedic surgeon and former faculty member at Emory's medical school, drew fire not for those credentials, but for his positions on Medicare and Medicaid.

House Approves the 21st Century Cures Act, Sending Landmark Bill to Senate
STAT News (11/30/16) Kaplan, Sheila

After three years of debate, countless hearings, and pleas from patient advocates, lawmakers on Tuesday approved legislation to speed new medicines to market and to authorize an additional $4.8 billion in spending for medical research. The House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act by a 392 to 26 vote, showing a bipartisan spirit that has been rare in recent years.

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