ASCA News Digest (July 17, 2018)

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July 17, 2018



ASCA Highlights

Industry News

ASCA Highlights

Data collection for the second quarter (Q2) of ASCA’s Clinical & Operational Benchmarking Survey ends in two weeks. Subscribers should make sure to submit their data by July 31 in order to get a complete picture of trends for the year.

Not yet subscribed to the 2018 survey? Purchase a subscription now.
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DePuy Synthes    Why did you start performing total joint replacements at the surgery center?

Sign up today for ASCA's next National Advocacy Day event, scheduled for September 5, 2018. National Advocacy Day is your opportunity to educate your representatives in Congress about issues that affect your ASC. This event includes a full scheduled day of congressional meetings on Capitol Hill for each participant, as well as a training briefing and dinner the night before.
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Be sure to check out the growing list of Related Stories in ASCA’s new Opioids Resource Center. This new page provides ASCs with an abundance of reputable resources to help in their training and understanding of the ongoing opioid crisis the country is facing. ASCA supports a comprehensive solution to address the abuse and misuse of opioids that is fueling a tragic epidemic across the country.
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The next time your ASC needs to buy or sell equipment, supplies or inventory, look no further than the ASCA Asset Network. This trusted online marketplace features thousands of new and refurbished items and can save you both time and money. Get started today.
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Violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can result in serious enforcement actions by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). ASCs can take important steps to help prevent these sorts of breaches and limit their liability. Read this ASC Focus Digital Debut for tips on how to best handle protected health information (PHI), and for case studies of entities that violated HIPAA and the ramifications of doing so.
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last week that facilities will be granted early access to their data on ASC-17 and ASC-18 in the ASC Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program. This is to allow facilities to better familiarize themselves with the measures before they are publicly reported. Learn more.
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Industry News

CMS Proposes Historic Changes to Modernize Medicare and Restore the Doctor-Patient Relationship
CMS Press Release (07/12/18)

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed historic changes that would increase the amount of time that doctors and other clinicians can spend with their patients by reducing the burden of paperwork that clinicians face when billing Medicare. The proposed rules would fundamentally improve the nation’s healthcare system and help restore the doctor-patient relationship by empowering clinicians to use their electronic health records (EHRs) to document clinically meaningful information, instead of information that is only for billing purposes.

Docs Shouldn't Be Held Accountable for Healthcare Costs, NEJM Survey
Healthcare Dive (07/16/18) Masterson, Les

Executive and clinician respondents to a new NEJM Catalyst survey said knowing out-of-pocket costs is important to patients and more than 60 percent said physicians are responsible for educating patients about these costs. However, nearly half don’t think physicians should be held accountable for those costs.

FDA Forms Task Force to Address Drug Shortages
FDA News Release (07/12/18) Gottlieb, Scott

We've seen the number of new drug shortages steadily decline since a peak in 2011 owing to the work of the FDA, industry and other groups. Despite these efforts, we continue to see ongoing shortages of medically necessary products.

Physician Practice Vertical Integration Highest Among Specialties
HealthLeaders Media (MA) (07/10/18) Commins, John

A new study this week in Health Affairs examined the consolidation of physician practices by hospitals over the past decade and found that rates of growth were highest among medical and surgical specialty practices and lowest among primary care practices. Within the specialties, the study found considerable variation in the levels of vertical integration from 2007 through 2017, ranging from 4 percentage points in dermatology to 34 percentage points in cardiology and oncology.

Medicare Incentives Could Harm Patient Care
UW News (07/09/18)

Most physicians treating Medicare patients don't know how Medicare is evaluating and paying them. When informed, physicians worry Medicare's approach could encourage physicians to "game the system," according to a survey and analysis by researchers at UW Medicine in Seattle and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Department of Justice Announces Regulatory Steps to Address Opioid Epidemic
DEA News Release (07/11/18)

The Department of Justice today announced the finalization of an April proposal to improve the Drug Enforcement Administration's ability to control the diversion of dangerous drugs in the midst of the national opioid crisis. Announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the final rule sent for publication today in the Federal Register establishes that DEA will take into consideration the extent that a drug is diverted for abuse when it sets its annual opioid production limits.

FDA Updates Warnings for Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics on Risks of Mental Health and Low Blood Sugar Adverse Reactions
FDA News Release (07/10/18)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today is requiring safety labeling changes for a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones to strengthen the warnings about the risks of mental health side effects and serious blood sugar disturbances, and make these warnings more consistent across the labeling for all fluoroquinolones taken by mouth or given by injection. "The use of fluoroquinolones has a place in the treatment of serious bacterial infections--such as certain types of bacterial pneumonia--where the benefits of these drugs outweigh the risks, and they should remain available as a therapeutic option."

National Mortality Rates after Outpatient Cosmetic Surgery and Low Rates of Perioperative Deep Vein Thrombosis Screening and Prophylaxis
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (07/01/18) Vol. 142, No. 1, P. 90 Bucknor, Alexandra; Egeler, Sabine A.; Chen, Austin D.; et al.

Over time, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of aesthetic plastic surgery procedures. A recent report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons revealed that there were 1.7 million cosmetic surgical procedures performed by board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States in 2016.

Hidden From View: The Astonishingly High Administrative Costs of U.S. Health Care
New York Times (07/16/18) Frakt, Austin

It takes only a glance at a hospital bill or at the myriad choices you may have for health care coverage to get a sense of the bewildering complexity of health care financing in the United States. That complexity doesn't just exact a cognitive cost.

Physicians Working in Small Practices Report Lower Levels of Burnout Than National Average (07/09/2018)

Physicians who work in small, independent primary care practices--also known as SIPs--report dramatically lower levels of burnout than the national average (13.5 percent versus 54.4 percent), according to a study led by researchers at NYU School of Medicine publishing online July 9 in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. The findings indicate that the independence and sense of autonomy that providers have in these small practices may provide some protection against symptoms of burnout.

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