Message from the President

Emphasize the Importance of Early CRC Screening

In its latest recommendations in June 2017, the US Multi-Society Task Force (MSTF) on Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Screening confirmed that people at average risk should be screened beginning at age 50. The task force— made up of representatives from the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Gastroenterological Association, and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy—recommended colonoscopy and fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) as the “first tier” screening tests for this group.

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Message from the CEO

Are you Ready for ASCA 2018?

As all of us here at ASCA are gearing up for ASCA 2018, April 11–14, in Boston, I want to encourage anyone who hasn’t already registered for this meeting to sign up now.

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As I See It

Observe National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Spread the word to raise awareness

In February 2000, President Bill Clinton officially dedicated the month of March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Since then, it has grown to be a true rallying point for the colon cancer community. Every year, thousands of patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates throughout the community join together to spread colon cancer awareness by wearing blue, holding fundraising and educational events, and talking to friends and family about screening.

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ASCA 2018

Avoid Endoscope-Related Infections

Come to ASCA 2018 to learn how

The ECRI Institute has listed endoscope reprocessing on its “Top 10 Health Technology Hazards” list for the last eight years, and endoscope-related infections have been in the news frequently during this time. According to William Rutala, director of the Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, “There are more outbreaks from the use of endoscopes than any other medical device due to the complexity of the instrument and microbial contamination.”

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Coding Audits

Keep your ASC safe from hacking

What are the sounds of silence? Announce a coding audit during your next staff meeting and you will quickly find out.

This feared exercise need not inspire dread. In fact, while a coding audit might seem stressful, it is a straightforward, valuable learning opportunity that can position a facility for long-term success in today’s fast-changing, hypercompetitive health care market. Through regular coding audits, ASCs can improve compliance, eliminate inefficiencies and optimize revenue and financial performance.

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Make HIPAA Compliance a Top Priority

Avoid these missteps in your ASC

Despite extensive media coverage regarding the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliance audits and penalties, HIPAA compliance programs still are not given top billing in some ASCs.

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OSHA Updates Its Regulations

Learn how to implement the revised reporting requirements

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 (Occupational Safety and Health Administration 29 CFR Part 1904). For more information on the final rule, click here. Although ASCs are partially exempt from some of the requirements in that rule, they are subject to a requirement that prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness.

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Doing Business

OR Utilization

The double-edged sword

Everyone wants their ASC to be busy, their operating rooms (OR) full and their profits rolling in. What is the definition of “full” and can a center be “too full” or “too busy?”

When we talk about how busy a center is, we are talking about OR utilization. How well are you using your fixed capacity (ORs) to drive your revenue (cases)?

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Trends in Medical Risk Transfer

Risks that are uninsurable or prohibitively expensive to insure might call for alternative risk transfer

In an ever-changing world, it is no secret that risks associated with ASCs also are evolving. Trends in medical risk transfer, however, are generally not related to ordinary risks but rather nontraditional—low frequency/high severity—risks. If these risks occur, they have the ability to bring a practice to a screeching halt. Examples of such risks include: loss or suspension of professional license, legislative and regulatory changes, cyber risk (breach of customer data and detrimental code) and related Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) violations.

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ASCA Advocates for Fair Implementation of Section 603

Congress passes site-neutral payment legislation

On November 2, 2015, congressional leaders and the Obama administration announced a bipartisan budget agreement that would fund the federal government for two years, raise the nation’s debt ceiling and stave off Medicare premium increases for beneficiaries. The final legislation, called the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, responded to a number approaching fiscal deadlines and leadership changes in the House that could have impacted the ability to strike such a deal.

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Rein in Surgical Case Coordination Inefficiencies

Cloud-based technology can help ASCs overcome fragmented case communication issues

Designed to be efficient, ASCs provide a more focused and specialized approach to surgeries without the costly overhead typical in a hospital environment. The result is high-quality care with better patient satisfaction. When it comes to surgical case coordination, however, the natural evolution of technology and communication has created a fragmented mess involving email, text messages, phone calls, white boards and word of mouth.

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Take Your ASC Revenue Cycle to the Next Level

Your employees are the most important tool to success

We all know every penny counts, but the rapidly changing rules surrounding ASC reimbursement can make revenue cycle management difficult. We can be ready for whatever changes come our way if we have the right tools, anticipate and adapt. When we think “tools,” we generally think software, hardware and medical equipment, but the most important tool for an ASC’s success is something else that is sometimes forgotten. More on that later. Below are a few tips to manage your revenue cycle successfully.

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Regulatory Review

Be Ahead of the Construction Curve

Use FGI’s 2018 Guidelines for Design and Construction of Outpatient Facilities

Constructing or renovating a medical facility is expensive and complicated. Do not make the mistake of believing moving a wall is “no big deal,” and that a regular home builder is up to the task. When it comes to medical construction, consult an expert and get a copy of the 2018 Guidelines for Design and Construction of Outpatient Facilities by the Facility Guidelines Institute.

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Advocacy Spotlight

Join the Fight Against Colorectal Cancer

Help raise awareness and advocate for preventive care

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and an opportunity to educate your community about the importance of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. This month also is a good time to join with ASCA in national advocacy efforts aimed at promoting enhanced access to CRC screenings and the life-saving benefits these procedures provide.

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Avoid Adverse Events with ASCA’s March Webinar

Although rare in ASCs, an adverse event can impact patients’ and physicians’ perceptions of the care an ASC provides, negatively affect a center’s quality measure performance and drive up the cost of patient care.

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Web Crawl

Access ASCA’s Online Training Series

Looking for a convenient, low-cost way for staff at your ASC to earn continuing education (CE) credits this year? ASCA’s Online Training Series provides ASC-specific education that you can complete at your convenience and from the comfort of your own office.

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