ASCA News Digest (September 6, 2017)

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September 6, 2017


ASCA Highlights

Industry News

ASCA Highlights

CMS to Grant Exceptions to ASCs Affected by Harvey

Due to the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will grant exceptions for Medicare quality reporting requirements to ASCs located in areas affected by the storm. ASCs located in one of 32 Texas counties or five Louisiana parishes will receive exceptions without having to submit an extraordinary circumstances exception (ECE) request; ASCs located outside these counties and parishes may request an exception to the reporting requirements. Read more.
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Learn how to develop and implement an effective peer review program during ASCA’s next webinar, scheduled for Tuesday, September 12, at 1:00 pm ET. During the program, Sharon Kimbrough of Surgical Care Affiliates will explain what it takes to successfully evaluate physician competency, proficiency and quality of care in your ASC. The webinar is $100 for ASCA members and $150 for nonmembers. Register.
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Through ASCA’s affinity partnership with Akorbi, your ASC can obtain the translation and interpretation services you need to be Medicare compliant. ASCA members enjoy special discounted rates on Akorbi’s high-quality language solutions, which include in-person interpretation; phone, video and mobile interpretation; document translation; and document localization. Learn more.
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ASCA staff members are scheduled to speak at several upcoming conferences:
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The Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia (SAMBA) seeks authors to contribute to its upcoming publication, A Manual of Practice Management for Ambulatory Surgery Centers: An Evidence-Based Guide. This manual aims to provide a comprehensive and concise guide to common pitfalls and situations that arise during the running of an ASC or office-based practice. SAMBA is looking for authors for the following topics:
  • ASC design and construction
  • Surgical coding
  • New monitors/equipment for the ASC setting
  • Electronic Health Records (EHR): Incorporating into practice, using data meaningfully, benchmarking
  • Overview of accreditation and regulatory requirements (including a discussion of all regulatory organizations: AAAHC, AAAASF, HFAP, IMQ, JC, CMS)
  • Lean management: Inventory and waste management
If you are interested in contributing, please contact SAMBA Education Committee Chair Niraja Rajan, MD, at Please indicate which topic you would like to author and attach a short CV.
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Word of mouth is a proven way to refer membership to your peers. ASCA will award a $25 gift card to every member who recruits a new ASC to join the association before September 29. Any individual working in an ASC that is a member of ASCA is eligible to participate. Learn more.
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In 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a proposed rule to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses through the electronic collection of establishment-specific injury and illness data. After receiving comments on the proposal, OSHA issued the final rule that became effective January 1, 2017. To learn how to implement the revised reporting requirements, visit the ASC Focus website.
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Your input is needed in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) 2018 proposed ASC payment rule. ASCA will once again submit comments raising industry-wide concerns, but it is important that CMS hears from individual centers as well. We have developed a 2018 Proposed Payment Rule Comment Resources page to aid you in writing your comments. Comments are due Monday, September 11 at 5:00 pm ET. Read more.
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Industry News

When Disaster Strikes, Does Your Practice Have a Plan in Place? (08/31/17) Geis, Shannon

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, an unprecedented storm that has dropped more than 50 inches of rain in parts of Houston, and has made a second landfall in Louisiana, it is difficult not to think about how organizations should react to a disaster of this magnitude and whether your own organization would be prepared for a similar scenario. Major storms such as Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012, have revealed gaps in emergency planning in many health care organizations.

Major Ransomware Attack Hits Healthcare and Other Industries
Health Data Management (09/01/17) Goedert, Joseph

A major ransomware attack is now underway against multiple industries, including health care, according to data security and disaster recovery vendor Barracuda Networks. However, the extent of the attack in the healthcare sector is not yet clearly known.

Groups Seek Ban on High-Dose Opioids Citing Overdose Danger
Associated Press (08/31/17)

Safety advocates and state health officials are formally calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban high-dose opioid painkillers to prevent accidental overdose deaths among patients and people who abuse drugs. A petition filed Thursday asks the FDA to ban opioid pills that, when taken as directed, would add up to a daily dose of more than 90 milligrams of morphine.

Why One California County Went Surgery Shopping
Kaiser Health News (09/01/17) Terhune, Chad

Retiree Leslie Robinson-Stone and her husband enjoyed a weeklong, all-expenses-paid trip to a luxury resort--all thanks to the county she worked for. The couple also received more than a thousand dollars in spending money and a personal concierge, who attended to their every need.

Surgical Center of Greensboro Aims to Save Patients Money
Fox 8 News (WGHP) (08/30/17) Spencer, Jasmine

Thursday marks the official opening of the Surgical enter of Greensboro on Green Valley Road. The center is a collaboration of a group of joint surgeons aiming to lower costs for patients offering valued health care with outpatient procedures.

Docs Dominate Another Highest-Paying Jobs List
Health Leaders Media (08/30/2017) Commins, John

Physicians accounted for eight of the top 15 highest-paying jobs, with most earning more than $300,000 a year, according to a new report from LinkedIn. The report, based on data gleaned from more than two million LinkedIn members in the United States, also found that healthcare is the only top-five paying industry with a greater proportion of women.

Bundled Payments for Surgery - Will They Reduce Healthcare Costs?
American Council on Science and Health (08/30/17) Dinerstein, Chuck

Secretary Price of HHS has delayed implementation of a new payment methodology, bundled care for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), which provides a fixed payment for all the services from just before admission until 90 days after discharge. Bundled payments, or a single payment for a unit of service, comes from an assembly line sensibility and has only been tested on surgical care, specifically hip and knee surgery.

3 Ways Virtual Reality Is Transforming Medical Care
NBC News (08/22/17) DiGiulio, Sarah

Think virtual reality is just about gaming and the world of make-believe? Get real.

Forced Air Thermal Regulating Systems: Healthcare Provider Letter - Information About Use
FDA MedWatch (08/30/17)

The FDA is reminding health care providers that using thermoregulation devices during surgery, including forced air thermoregulating systems, have been demonstrated to result in less bleeding, faster recovery times, and decreased risk of infection for patients. The FDA recently became aware that some health care providers and patients may be avoiding the use of forced air thermal regulating systems during surgical procedures due to concerns of a potential increased risk of surgical site infection (e.g., following joint replacement surgery).

Industry Coalition Finalizes Clinical Decision Support Guidelines Aimed at Self-Regulation
Fierce Healthcare (09/01/2017) Sweeney, Evan

A coalition of organizations interested in making or using clinical decision support software has finalized voluntary guidelines aimed at self-regulating new technology that uses data and machine learning to assist physicians with more accurate diagnoses. The Clinical Decision Support Coalition, led by Bradley Merrill Thompson, a medical device attorney with Epstein Becker Green, finalized draft guidelines for CDS software released in May after reviewing public comments.

Surgery Partners Completes Acquisition of National Surgical Healthcare
Globe Newswire (08/31/17)

Surgery Partners, Inc., a leading healthcare services company, today announced that it has successfully completed its previously announced acquisition of National Surgical Healthcare, an owner and operator of surgical facilities in partnership with local physicians. On May 9, 2017, Surgery Partners announced a definitive merger agreement under which Surgery Partners would acquire NSH from Irving Place Capital for approximately $760 million.

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