ASCA News Digest (December 15, 2020)



Register today for the ASCA 2021 Virtual Conference—now scheduled for April 26, May 3 and May 10, 2021. You can learn more about ASCA's decision to make ASCA 2021 an entirely virtual event, what to expect during the conference and how these decisions are affecting ASCA's legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts in the newest episode of ASCA's Advancing Surgical Care Podcast.
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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. Don't delay—if you haven't already, renew your membership today to make sure you have continuing 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's Medicare payment resources have been updated to reflect the changes finalized in the 2021 final payment rule for hospital outpatient departments (HOPD) and ASCs. This includes the 2021 Final Rule Rate Calculator, which ASCA members can use to view 2021 Medicare rates with their local wage index applied.
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Register now for the ASCA 2021 Virtual Coding & Reimbursement Seminar. This popular seminar—now a virtual event—provides essential training for ASC billers and coders.

During three afternoons in January—Monday, January 11; Tuesday, January 19; and Monday, January 25—you'll hear from industry experts as they discuss the coding and billing updates for 2021 and share strategies you can use to maximize your ASC's reimbursements. ASCA members save $100 on each registration. Register 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 2021 editorial calendar of ASC Focus is now online. ASCA editors welcome contributions by external authors with expertise in the issues and topics relevant to the magazine's audience: busy ASC professionals. Bring your ideas and pitch your stories to Sahely Mukerji. If you are interested in advertising, write Chris Schriever.
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Since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' 2021 final ASC payment rule contained no significant changes to Medicare's ASC Quality Reporting Program, ASCA has canceled its 2020 webinar “CMS Quality Reporting for ASCs.” ASCA Regulatory Counsel Kara Newbury will provide a brief update on the quality reporting program in her webinar titled “Understanding Medicare's 2021 Final Payment Rule.”
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) recent change to the 24-hour nursing services requirement in its Hospitals Without Walls (HWOW) program will possibly encourage more ASCs to participate in the program.

The change came on November 25, five days after ASCA Board members spoke to CMS Administrator Seema Verma and other CMS officials on how the federal government could best leverage ASCs in light of recent COVID-19 surges. Read this Digital Debut to learn more of one surgery center's experience enrolling in the program.
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A new surgical patient demographic has emerged during COVID-19; patients who have recovered from the virus. To help hospitals, surgeons, physician anesthesiologists and proceduralists evaluate and schedule essential and elective surgeries for these patients, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation have released a collaborative document to provide guidance as hospitals perform surgery, even as the country continues to grapple with the pandemic.
American Society of Anesthesiologists News Release (12/09/20)
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Tenet Healthcare Corporation today announced that it will acquire a portfolio of up to 45 ambulatory surgery centers (the “Portfolio”) from SurgCenter Development. The Portfolio will be operated by Tenet's United Surgical Partners International subsidiary as part of its industry-leading ambulatory surgery platform.
Business Wire (12/10/20)
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On December 11, the Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine – the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine – followed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation for use, clearing the way for delivery and administration of the vaccine throughout the country. Initially, supply will be very limited, meaning states have to make difficult decisions about who should get the first allocations.
Kaiser Family Foundation (12/14/20)
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As health care becomes more consumer-centric, hospitals, physician practices, health care organizations, and other medical facilities have two distinct aims: deliver the safest and highest quality care [and] make health care easier for consumers to access. As the marketing manager for our Ambulatory Health Care segment, a large part of my job is to help free-standing ambulatory care organizations understand that The Joint Commission's role is to actively assist ambulatory care facilities in achieving their patient safety and quality goals through accreditation and certification.
Joint Commission Ambulatory Buzz Blog (12/07/20) Christine Peisker
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Although the Baker administration has said several times that its new order halting elective medical procedures would not apply to outpatient care, the state's ambulatory surgery centers worry the actual policy does not line up with the descriptions offered. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders stressed Tuesday that, unlike a similar halt on elective treatments officials ordered in the spring, preventive visits such as colonoscopies and mammograms can still take place.
Fall River Herald News (12/08/20)
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Vertos Medical Inc., a leader in the development of innovative, minimally invasive treatments for lumbar spinal stenosis, today announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has increased Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) reimbursement for the mild® Procedure. Effective January 1, 2021, the national average ASC reimbursement for CPT 0275T will increase by 41 percent, from $2,803.35 to $3,941.14, in recognition of the device cost associated with the procedure.
PR Newswire (12/08/20)
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The Joint Commission has received continued deeming recognition from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to accredit ambulatory surgery centers seeking participation in Medicare or Medicaid programs. The deeming recognition is effective December 20, 2020 through December 20, 2024.
Joint Commission News Release (12/08/20)
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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

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