ASCA News Digest (April 9, 2019)

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April 9, 2019


ASCA Highlights

Data collection for the first quarter (Q1) of ASCA's 2019 Clinical & Operational Benchmarking Survey is now open. This valuable online survey provides access to a full year of national comparison data you can use to improve clinical outcomes, billing performance, staffing and more at your ASC. ASCA members save more than $150 on survey subscriptions. If you haven’t already, purchase your subscription today!
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Apply today to take the next Certified Ambulatory Infection Preventionist (CAIP)™ exam, offered during the month of June. CAIP is the first credential designed specifically for infection preventionists in the ASC industry. This certification distinguishes those with a comprehensive understanding of the skills and knowledge that the role of an ASC infection preventionist requires. Apply today.
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Register today for the ASCA 2019 Conference & Expo, May 15–18 in Nashville, TN, to gain access to more than 50 ASC-specific educational sessions designed for professionals at all levels, unparalleled networking opportunities, hundreds of product demos in the largest ASC-specific exhibit hall of the year and more.

Need help convincing your supervisor to send you to ASCA 2019? Check out ASCA’s supervisor approval letter template, which you can customize to your own specific situation. Register today!
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D&Y Staffing

Designated ASCA voting members are encouraged to vote for the members of the ASCA Board of Directors. The official results will be announced May 18 on the ASCA website. The candidates selected to serve on the ASCA Board will also serve on the ASCA Foundation Board. Learn more about the candidates and cast your ballot by next Monday, April 15.
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At a February meeting, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officials asked ASCA representatives for codes that should be added to the ASC-payable list for 2020. In response, ASCA conducted a brief survey of its members, which wrapped up earlier this month. Read this ASC Focus article for more information on the procedure list survey questions and the survey results.
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The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing last week on “Examining Surprise Billing: Protecting Patients from Financial Pain.” Although no formal legislation was considered at this hearing, federal interest in this topic continues to mount, building upon a roundtable held earlier this year by the Trump administration and a discussion draft of legislation published by a group of senators last year. Read on.
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Industry News

Colorado Now Requires Hospitals and ASCs to Adopt, Implement Policies to Prevent Exposure to Surgical Smoke
Infection Control Today (04/04/19)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law new legislation that will require licensed hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to adopt and implement policies to prevent human exposure to surgical smoke. Surgical smoke results from thermal destruction of human tissue by heat producing devices such as lasers and electrocautery knives commonly used during surgery.
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Modernizing Medicine
The New Rules of Ambulatory Surgery Center Competition
Advisory Board (04/01/19)

While the outmigration of care from inpatient settings to the outpatient arena is not new to hospitals and health systems, the forces driving today’s outpatient shift are fundamentally different than in the past. Technology is no longer the principal factor dictating the site of service delivery. Instead, key stakeholders—especially payers and physicians—are driving patients to receive care in low-cost settings.
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ASCs Make Comeback with Multispecialty Ownership Groups
National Law Review (03/27/19) Strode, Roger D.

Ambulatory surgery center (ASC) development and ownership has made a comeback after a number of years of stagnation due to an oversupply of centers and poor income growth. However, with significant changes in payment methodology, whether under Medicare or commercial third party insurance, the industry has seen a shift in surgical procedures toward less expensive and more efficient settings, most especially ASCs.
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New Policy Burdens Doc Prescribing Opioids Under Part D
Orthopedics This Week (04/08/19) Donovan, Bill

Physicians may have to work harder and fight the federal bureaucracy to write new prescriptions for opioids covered under Medicare Part D under policies issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 28. "The new opioid policies include improved safety alerts at the pharmacy for Part D beneficiaries who are filling their initial opioid prescription or who are receiving high doses of prescription opioids," CMS Principal Deputy Administrator for Operations Kim Brandt said in an online announcement.
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Amazon's Alexa Can Now Handle Protected Health Info
Health Data Management (04/08/19) Bazzoli, Fred

Amazon's Alexa voice-activated virtual assistant technology is now HIPAA-eligible, enabling healthcare organizations to build applications with the technology. Amazon announced that the Alexa Skills Kit can be used by some covered entities and their business associates, subject to provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 to build Alexa "skills" that transmit and receive protected health information.
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Outpatient Patients Happier Than Inpatient?
Orthopedics This Week (04/04/19) Hofheinz, Elizabeth

New research on outpatient arthroplasty has found that patients who go home the day of surgery are just as happy—if not happier—than those patients who remain in the hospital. The study, "Is Patient Satisfaction Higher with Inpatient or Same Day Total Joint Arthroplasty?" was presented at the recent meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
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Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. and Deputy Commissioner Anna Abram on New 2019 Efforts to Improve the Quality of Compounded Drugs
FDA News Release (04/03/19)

We've long recognized that compounded drugs can serve an important role for patients whose medical needs cannot be met by an FDA-approved drug product. But compounded drugs are not approved by the FDA and, therefore, have not been evaluated for safety or efficacy.
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Heron Therapeutics  

How the Surgical Setting Contributes to the Opioid Crisis

The number of Americans who become addicted to opioids following surgery is an under-reported implication of a crisis sweeping the nation. How did we get to a point where up to 440,000 people become addicted this way — every year? Continue reading here.

ASCA 2019