ASCA News Digest (December 8, 2020)

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ASCA HIGHLIGHTS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2021 final payment rule for ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPD). Of note, CMS is adding 267 codes to the ASC Covered Procedures List (ASC-CPL), including total hip arthroplasty (THA). CMS also continued to align the ASC update factor with that used to update HOPD payments, using the hospital market basket to update ASC payments for calendar year (CY) 2021 through CY 2023 as the agency continues to assess this policy’s impact on volume migration.
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Register for ASCA’s new virtual courses for ASC administrators and infection preventionists:
  • Infection Prevention for ASCs, February 1 & 2, 2021: Get the resources you need to develop and maintain an infection prevention program that protects your patients and your ASC.
  • Management Essentials for ASC Administrators, March 1 & 2, 2021: Learn what every ASC leader needs to know about compliance, finance, quality management and human resources—and how to keep up with the latest information about these critical operational areas.
Each course takes place over two half days. You can participate in the live events or watch recordings of the sessions at your convenience.
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Being an ASCA member gives you and your staff access to vital educational resources, timely networking, essential news, information and tools that apply daily in your practice. If you haven’t already done so, renew your membership today to make sure you have continued access to these valuable benefits into the new year.

Not yet a member? See all the ways you can put ASCA benefits to good use and join today.
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ASCA is seeking candidates to serve on the ASCA Board of Directors (members also serve on the ASCA Foundation Board). If you know of an individual who has the skills, experience and a commitment to devote time and energy to ASC advocacy, please see if they are interested, and, if so, nominate them. Self-nominations are also welcome. The deadline to submit nominations is January 7, 2021.
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The COVID-19 pandemic further put into focus that preventing infections depends upon everyone working in an ASC. While making safety-focused decisions, such as performing proper handwashing and not coming into work when ill, falls on the shoulders of all ASC staff, there are specific infection prevention-related responsibilities that must be completed for a center to meet federal guidelines and accreditation requirements. Read this ASC Focus article on how these responsibilities can be divvied up among team members.
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On November 20, ASCA Board members were invited to speak with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma and other senior officials about how the federal government can best leverage ASCs in light of recent COVID-19 surges. As follow-up to the call, ASCA submitted suggestions to CMS as to how the agency could provide more flexibility to ASCs which would allow them to handle more outpatient cases that need to be redirected from hospitals.
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INDUSTRY NEWS

APIC News Release (12/03/20)
As cases of COVID-19 surge in the U.S., a national survey of infection prevention experts, conducted October 22 – November 5, 2020 by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), found that while healthcare personnel have better access to PPE than they did in the spring, many healthcare facilities have implemented PPE crisis standards of care. The online survey of 1,083 infection preventionists located in U.S. hospitals and health facilities found that 73.0 percent of respondents reported that their healthcare facilities have implemented PPE crisis standards of care for respirators, 68.7 percent for masks, and 75.8 percent for face shields or eye protection.
APIC News Release (12/03/20)
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AAAHC News Release (12/02/20)
The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) announces the release of a fully updated Ambulatory Surgery and Preoperative Evaluation and Testing Toolkit. Ambulatory surgery centers can utilize this toolkit to guide development of their preoperative evaluation program.
AAAHC News Release (12/02/20)
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Buffalo News (12/05/20) Stephen T. Watson
Local hospitals and surgery centers still are grappling with the effects of the state's decision to temporarily ban elective surgeries last spring. The order, which lasted as long as two months for some area facilities, left hospitals and medical practices with multimillion-dollar holes to fill and a backlog of unperformed surgeries that doctors still are working through.
Buffalo News (12/05/20) Stephen T. Watson
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New York Times (11/30/20) Jane E. Brody
While a raging pandemic continues to force shutdowns and slowdowns throughout the country, another major risk to human health is not taking a sabbatical: cancer. In the early months of the pandemic, millions of people heeded warnings and fears about contracting the coronavirus and avoided, or couldn't even get, in-person medical visits and cancer screenings, allowing newly developed cancers to escape detection and perhaps progress unimpeded.
New York Times (11/30/20) Jane E. Brody
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Business Wire (12/03/20)
Omeros Corporation announced today that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed separate payment in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) for Omeros' cataract surgery drug Omidria (phenylephrine and ketorolac intraocular solution) 1%/0.3%. In its final rule directed to the Medicare outpatient prospective payment system and the ASC payment system for calendar year 2021, CMS confirmed that OMIDRIA qualifies for separate payment under CMS' policy for non-opioid pain management surgical drugs when used in the ASC setting.
Business Wire (12/03/20)
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Tri-City Herald (WA) (12/07/20) Jennifer King
Gary Richberg works everyday to overcome stereotypes and prejudices for people of color in the medical field. "Despite the prejudice that I have experienced in my life, the preconceptions that people have for you, the racism that I think every African American at some point experiences, you have to overcome," said the director of Surgery Centers at Kadlec Clinic in Richland.
Tri-City Herald (WA) (12/07/20) Jennifer King
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News summaries © copyright 2020 SmithBucklin

About ASCA

Mission: The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) is the national membership association that represents ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and provides advocacy and resources to assist ASCs in delivering high-quality, cost-effective ambulatory surgery to all the patients they serve.

About Us: At ASCA, we are eager to help you become better acquainted with our nation's ASCs and the people who own and operate them. We are also eager to help you develop policies on ASC-related issues. If you have questions, please contact us. We'll put you in touch with the experts and, if you like, arrange for you to visit an ASC in your area.

Contact Us: Advertising inquiries should be addressed to Chris Schriever or Alex Yewdell at 202.337.1897 or at advertising@ascassociation.org.

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