ASCA News Digest (January 31, 2017)

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January 31, 2017


ASCA Highlights

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    ASCA Highlights

    Q4 Benchmarking Data Collection Closes Today

    Subscribers to ASCA’s 2016 Benchmarking program must submit their fourth-quarter reports by the end of the day today. Reports from the full year will be available by mid-February.

    ASCA Benchmarking is an online clinical and operational benchmarking program that provides valuable data about ASCs. These reports allow you to compare your ASC with national performance statistics on outcomes, billing and staffing.

    Be sure to submit your report today. This is a firm deadline; no information will be accepted after today.
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    Attend ASCA’s next webinar, "Implementing the OAS CAHPS Survey—Lessons We Are Learning," to find out what your ASC needs to know about the new Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Survey (OAS CAHPS). Beginning in 2018, all Medicare-certified ASCs will be required to contract with a survey vendor approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and submit data to CMS. This webinar is designed specifically for independent ASCs and will offer practical advice about preparing for mandatory reporting, choosing a CMS-approved survey vendor and managing an ASC’s role in the survey process. The webinar will be held Tuesday, February 7, at 1:00 pm ET. Register today.

    Note: You can also sign up for the 2017 All-Access Pass, which gives you access to all 18 webinars in this year’s series—and saves more than $2,500!
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    ASCA’s Salary and Benefits Survey—a vital tool that assists ASCs in attracting and retaining the best employees—collects national, regional and state data on 20 ASC positions. All ASCs can take the survey free of charge. ASCA members and nonmembers who complete at least 40 percent of the survey will receive personalized results for free. Learn more here.
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    One Medical Passport

    Winter Seminar attendees who need to request continuing education (CE) credits, nursing contact hours or AEUs or a certificate of participation, must do so by February 28. To receive credit, complete the session evaluation available here.
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    With the rapid and complex changes taking place in the US health care system, maintaining your ASCA membership is more important than ever. If you have not renewed your membership for 2017, we urge you to renew today. Access to member benefits will be suspended on February 28. We appreciate your support and hope you will continue your participation. Renew today!
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    ASCA is accepting submissions for topics and speakers for the 2018 Coding Update and Reimbursement Strategies seminar. Please send in your suggestions by February 28. Submit your suggestion here.
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    ASCA has entered a collaborative relationship with the American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR), a national registry of hip and knee arthroplasty. This Wednesday, AJRR will provide a complimentary webinar specifically for ASCs to show how participation in the AJRR can benefit your center.

    The registry contains more than 775,000 procedures from 6,000-plus surgeons. ASCA believes its member participation in the registry will be a critical element in ASCA’s continued efforts to move total joint replacements to Medicare's ASC-payable list. It also will help increase the number of private payers willing to reimburse its facilities for these procedures. If your surgery center performs hip and knee procedures, consider submitting data to the AJRR. ASCA has arranged a deep discount on the AJRR licensing fee for the first year and waived the set-up fee, which is a savings of more than 40 percent.

    The webinar will provide an overview of clinical data registries, including their history, what they are used for, and how the data can help ASCs in general. During this session, AJRR program coordinators will walk through the AJRR enrollment process and discuss best practices for secure data submission and viewing data on the online dashboards.

    The webinar will be held February 1 at 1:00 pm ET. Register today.
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    Hospira Inc. is voluntarily recalling one lot of Vancomycin Hydrochloride for Injection, USP (NDC: 0409-6510-01, Lot 591053A, Expiry Date 1NOV2017) to the hospital/retail level due to a confirmed customer report for the presence of particulate matter within a single vial. The product is packaged in a carton containing 1x100 mL vial. The lot was distributed from August 2016 through September 2016 in the United States.

    Read the Medwatch safety alert, including a link to the press release, here.
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    Since our last update in April 2016, health care organizations across the country posted 257 breaches of protected health information (PHI) affecting 500 or more individuals. The majority of the breaches included unauthorized access and hacking.

    Visit the ASC Focus website to learn how ASCs can minimize the risk of breaches and limit their liability.
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    As announced in the January 5 Government Affairs Update, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a correction notice on December 30, 2016, which impacts the 2017 ASC final payment rates. These rates were effective as of January 1, 2017. Please make sure that you are using ASCA’s current 2017 Final Rate Calculator which reflects these changes. In addition to changes due to the correction, in response to ASCA member feedback we have also made sure that all codes, regardless of whether or not they are impacted by wage index, are now included in the rate calculator. For codes that are not impacted by wage index, only a national rate will show. In addition, there is now a column on the worksheet that indicates whether or not the code is subject to a geographic adjustment.

    ASCA has also updated its other 2017 documents. In one Excel document, you will find separate worksheets for each of the following code groups:
    • Separately Payable;
    • Packaged;
    • Office-based;
    • Multiple Procedure Discounting Exempt;
    • Device Intensive;
    • Cost-Sharing Waived; and
    • Ancillary.
    Please contact Kara Newbury at with any questions.
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    Industry News

    Report: Healthcare Sector Hit Hard in 2016 by Data Breaches
    Healthcare Informatics (01/24/17) Leventhal, Rajiv

    Across all industries, the number of U.S. data breaches tracked in 2016 hit an all-time record high of 1,093, and in healthcare, troubling data security trends continue to plague the sector, according to new research from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and CyberScout. The number of breaches in 2016 represents a substantial hike of 40 percent over the near record high of 780 reported in 2015.

    What Happens When Doctors Only Take Cash
    Time (01/17) Edwards, Haley Sweetland

    When Art Villa found out, after one too many boating accidents, that he needed a total knee replacement, he began asking around to see how much it would cost. The hospital near his home in Helena, Mont., would charge $40,000 for the procedure, he says.

    State Weighs Competing OR Plans
    WilmingtonBiz (01/27/17) Little, Ken

    Competing health care systems seeking to develop new operating room facilities in New Hanover and Brunswick counties await word from the state Department of Health and Human Services on which proposals will get the green light. Certificates of need requesting permission to add operating rooms in New Hanover and Brunswick counties are currently under review by the state’s Healthcare Planning and Certificate of Need Section.

    Poll: Just 15 Percent of Doctors Want ACA Repealed
    The Hill (01/26/17) Sullivan, Peter

    The vast majority of doctors do not want the Affordable Care Act to be repealed, a new survey finds. Just 15 percent of primary care doctors surveyed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania want the healthcare law to be repealed.

    GOP Senators Present ACA Alternative
    CNN (01/23/17) Lee, M.J.

    Two Republican senators introduced legislation Monday to replace Obamacare amid mounting pressure on the GOP to craft an alternative to the massive health care law. Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine unveiled a bill that they are describing as an "Obamacare replacement plan."

    Aetna-Humana $37B Merger Blocked Over Fear It Would Harm Consumers
    USA Today (01/23/17) McCoy, Kevin

    A federal judge Monday temporarily blocked the proposed $37 billion mega-merger between health insurance industry giants Aetna and Humana, ruling that the transaction would reduce competition for consumers. Although the antitrust decision can be appealed, the outcome could have significant ramifications on how older Americans purchase government Medicare and private Medicare Advantage coverage in the rapidly changing U.S. health care market, as well as on the options available to individuals who don't have employer coverage.

    Health Care Coalition Calls for Prior Authorization Reform
    AMA News Release (01/25/17)

    Responding to unreasonable hurdles for patients seeking care, a coalition including the American Medical Association (AMA) and 16 other health care organizations today urged health plans, benefit managers, and others to reform prior authorization requirements imposed on medical tests, procedures, devices, and drugs. The coalition, which represents hospitals, medical groups, patients, pharmacists, and physicians, says that requiring pre-approval by insurers before patients can get certain drugs or treatments can delay or interrupt medical services, divert significant resources from patient care and complicate medical decisions.

    The Endoscopy Center at St. Mary Partners With Physicians Endoscopy
    PR Newswire (01/27/17)

    Physicians Endoscopy, LLC (PE), along with the physicians of the Gastroenterology Group PA, the Center for Colon and Rectal Health, Inc., and St. Mary Medical Center are pleased to announce on December 1, 2016, the organizations finalized a joint venture relationship. PE, leader in the development and management of GI single-specialty ambulatory surgery centers, acquired a minority interest in The Endoscopy Center at St. Mary (ECSM), making this their 43rd ASC.

    Surgery Partners Debuts New Surgery Center in Beverly Hills (01/18/17) Day, Nellie

    Surgery Partners has opened a 12,000-square-foot surgical facility in Beverly Hills. The new facility is known as Specialty Surgical Center of Beverly Hills.

    Health Law Coverage Has Helped Many Chronically Ill — But Has Still Left Gaps
    Kaiser Health News (01/23/17) Luthra, Shefali

    As President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress devise a plan to replace the 2010 health law, new research suggests a key component of the law helped people with chronic disease get access to health care — though, the paper notes, it still fell short in meeting their medical needs. Research published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the number of chronically ill Americans with insurance increased by about 5 percentage points — around 4 million people — in 2014, the first year the law required Americans to have coverage, set up marketplaces for people to buy coverage, and allowed for states to expand eligibility for Medicaid, the federal-state insurance plan for low-income people.

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