ASCA News Digest (February 22, 2017)

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February 22, 2017


ASCA Highlights

Industry News

Affiliate News   Affiliate News
        Take some time and thank our 2017 Affiliate Leaders listed below for their continued support of ASCA. For a complete list of ASCA's 2017 Affiliates, please follow the link

    ASCA Highlights

    Renew Your ASCA Membership by February 28

    Your 2016 ASCA membership will expire on February 28. Renew now to maintain your access to Medicare tools, quality reporting, networking opportunities, regulatory updates and more. If your membership lapses, you will be ineligible to receive discounts on ASCA 2017 registration, the 2017 Webinar All-Access Pass and ASCA’s clinical and operational benchmarking program. Renew your membership today.
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    Sightsee the nation's capital when you attend ASCA 2017, May 3–6, in Washington, DC. ASCA’s annual meeting will take place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in the heart of National Harbor—a waterfront destination with dining, shopping and entertainment—and just minutes from Washington, DC. While you are there, make the most of the city’s museums, historic tours and nightlife. Learn more and register today.
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    This Friday, ASCA Chief Executive Officer Bill Prentice will speak at McDermott Will & Emery's 2017 ASC & Physician Practice Management Symposium in Miami, Florida. The conference will focus on business and legal issues that impact both the ASC and physician practice management industries. Learn more.
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    February 28 is the deadline for Winter Seminar attendees to request continuing education (CE) credits, nursing contact hours, AEUs or a certificate of participation. To receive credit, complete the session evaluation available here.
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    In 2017, ASCA will work on many levels with multiple regulatory agencies and Congress to ensure that ASCs are in the conversation when federal policy decisions that affect surgery centers are made.

    To learn more about ASCA’s 2017 advocacy agenda, visit the ASC Focus web site.
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    One Medical Passport

    On Friday, February 10, the US Senate confirmed Dr. Tom Price as secretary of the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). He was sworn in and promptly took office the same day.

    Last week, the US Senate Committee on Finance held a confirmation hearing for Seema Verma to serve as the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). For more information regarding Ms. Verma’s confirmation, contact Kristin Murphy at
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    Industry News

    Influence of GOP Doctors Caucus Grows as Congress Looks to Replace Health Law
    Kaiser Health News (02/15/17) Galewitz, Phil

    The confirmation of Tom Price, the orthopedic surgeon-turned-Georgia congressman, as secretary of Health and Human Services represents the latest victory in the ascendancy of a little-known but powerful group of conservative physicians in Congress he belongs to — the GOP Doctors Caucus. During the Obama administration, the caucus regularly sought to overturn the Affordable Care Act, and it's now expected to play a major role determining the Trump administration's plans for replacement.

    Bill to Repeal Certificate of Need Program Advances in Florida House
    Florida Politics (02/15/17) Perry, Mitch

    Despite heavy opposition from much of the hospital and hospice industry, a bill that would repeal Florida's Certificate of Need (CON) program advanced in a House subcommittee on Wednesday. Currently, health care providers require a certificate of need prior before building or converting hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices.

    Whistleblower Suit Alleges UnitedHealth Defrauded Medicare
    Minneapolis Star Tribune (02/18/17) Snowbeck, Christopher

    A whistleblower lawsuit alleges that UnitedHealth Group and health plans that hired a subsidiary of the Minnetonka-based insurer have submitted false information about patient conditions to boost payment rates from the federal Medicare program. If true, the scheme could have generated hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in government overpayments to health plans, according to a lawsuit unsealed this week after the U.S. Department of Justice said it would join the case.

    One in Four Consumers Has Had Their Health Data Compromised
    Internet Health Management (02/20/2017) Brohan, Mark

    About 25 percent of consumers have been the victim of a health care data breach, says a new study from consulting and research firm Accenture released this morning at HIMSS 2017 in Orlando, Fla. In the survey of about 2,000 consumers Accenture found that 50 percent of patients whose data was access by unauthorized individuals were victims of medical identity theft.

    Patient Complaints Can Identify Surgeons With Higher Rates of Bad Surgical Outcomes
    Science Daily (02/15/2017)

    Recording and analyzing patient and family reports about rude and disrespectful behavior can identify surgeons with higher rates of surgical site infections and other avoidable adverse outcomes, according to a study led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) investigators in collaboration with six other major academic health systems. The study, published online Feb. 15 in the journal JAMA Surgery, examined de-identified data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) for 32,125 patients treated at one of seven health systems.

    2016-2025 Projections of National Health Expenditures Data Released
    CMS Press Release (02/15/17)

    National health expenditure growth is expected to average 5.6 percent annually over 2016-2025, according to a report published today as a 'Web First' by Health Affairs and authored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Office of the Actuary (OACT). These projections are constructed using a current-law framework and do not assume potential legislative changes over the projection period.

    CMS Awards Approximately $100 Million to Help Small Practices Succeed in the Quality Payment Program
    CMS Press Release (02/17/17)

    Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded approximately $20 million to 11 organizations for the first year of a five-year program to provide on-the-ground training and education about the Quality Payment Program for clinicians in individual or small group practices of 15 clinicians or fewer. CMS intends to invest up to an additional $80 million over the remaining four years.

    White House Proposes New Rules to Steady Insurance Markets Under Health Law
    New York Times (02/15/17) Pear, Robert

    The Trump administration proposed new rules on Wednesday to stabilize health insurance markets roiled by efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, by big increases in premiums and by the exodus of major insurers. The move came a day after Humana announced that, starting next year, it would completely withdraw from the public marketplaces created by former President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

    CMS Releases List of Global Codes for Postoperative Visit Reporting
    American College of Surgeons (02/17/2017)

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a list of 293 10-day and 90-day global codes that some health care practitioners will be required to report when billing for postoperative visits. Starting July 1, a health care practitioner who is in a practice with 10 or more other practitioners and located in one of nine CMS-designated states will be required to report American Medical Association Current Procedure Terminology (CPT) code 99024 for each postoperative visit furnished within the global period.

    Two Mega-Health Insurance Mergers Terminated
    Milwaukee Business Journal (02/15/17) Greer, Carolyn Tribble

    Merger agreements between Humana Inc. and Aetna Inc. and between Cigna Corp. and Anthem Inc. were both terminated Tuesday. Louisville, Ky.-based Humana, a major employer in the Green Bay area, issued a news release this morning to announce the "mutual termination" after last month's federal court ruling that blocked the transaction.

    Aetna CEO: ACA in 'Death Spiral'
    Bloomberg (02/15/17) Tracer, Zachary; Greifeld, Katherine

    Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini escalated his criticism of the Affordable Care Act, saying the ACA's s markets are nearing failure as premiums climb and healthier individuals drop out. "It is in a death spiral," Bertolini said in a video interview with the Wall Street Journal that aired Wednesday on the newspaper's website.

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