Message from the President

Ophthalmology Cases Give ASCs a Chance to Shine

Ophthalmic surgical procedures have been the mainstay of surgical practices in ASCs for many years. Since the likelihood of cataract procedures is tied to the aging process, a great majority of cases are covered by Medicare. By age 65, more than 90 percent of the US population will have a cataract surgery. Women have more cataracts than men, and it is projected that the number of people with cataracts will double to 50 million by 2030. That is a lot of people who will need great surgery centers and surgeons to provide this service. I will be one of them.

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Message from the CEO

Add Quality

One of the themes of this issue of ASC Focus is “quality improvement” and I’d like you to take a minute and reflect on what you are doing to keep your ASC staff abreast of current regulatory and operational requirements. Keeping current on these requirements can improve your ASC’s patient outcomes.

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As I See It

For It Is in Giving that We Receive

Participating in medical missions enriches you as a person and makes you better at your job

When we incorporate the act of giving into the business of our surgery centers and affiliated practices, the positive impacts magnify. Far outweighing the cost of lost chair time for paying patients, involvement in humanitarian activities enhances emotional intelligence, inspires effective teamwork and drives innovation and resourcefulness in your surgical team and the business of ophthalmology.

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Q & A

ASCA CEO Discusses Proposed 2019 ASC Payment Rule

A Q&A with Bill Prentice

On July 25, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2019 proposed payment rule for ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPD). ASCA Chief Executive Officer Bill Prentice talks about the policy changes proposed and the implications of those changes for ASCs.

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CMS Gives the Green Light to Exparel

Special coding considerations apply

With prescription opioid addiction surpassing epidemic proportions, any effective non-opioid pain management tool that might prevent further opioid misuse is certainly one to be embraced. According to a 2017 study by the National Safety Council, in the US, the odds of death by an opioid overdose (1:96) is more likely than death by a motor vehicle accident (1:103).

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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).

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HIPAA Biannual Update

July to December 2018

Since ASCA’s last update in July 2018, health care organizations across the country posted 163 breaches of protected health information (PHI) affecting 500 or more individuals.

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Doing Business

Manage Your IOL Inventory Efficiently

Use technology to streamline workflow, document lens use and inventory

Ophthalmology surgeons are experts at multitasking. On a typical day, a busy ophthalmologist manages multiple back-to-back surgeries and might perform 30 or more cataract procedures. An efficient ophthalmology ASC operates as a well-oiled machine: Patients come in the front door with cloudy lenses; they are prepped for surgery by nursing staff, seen by the ophthalmologist, go through a routine surgery to implant or replace an intraocular lens (IOLs), and are then sent out the door with their sight happily improved.

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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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Quality Improvement

Implement a QMS for Device Processing

New systems benefit patients and staff

Joseph Juran, a leading expert in the quality industry and author of Juran’s Quality Handbook—The Complete Guide to Performance Excellence, defines “quality management” as all activities of the overall management function that determine the quality policy, objectives and responsibilities and implement them by such means as quality planning, quality control and quality improvement within the quality system.

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Enhance Cybersecurity in Your ASC

Try these low-cost strategies to stay ahead of the game

ASC owners and administrators sometimes hesitate to fund the expensive technologies they assume are required to improve cybersecurity at their center. In reality, some of the most effective preventive cybersecurity measures an ASC can put in place also are affordable. By addressing the “low-hanging fruit” of cybersecurity risk, ASCs can reduce vulnerability without breaking the bank.

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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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History of Prescription Drug Regulation

What this means for future rulemaking

In an October 2018 poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), healthcare was the most important issue among registered voters, and healthcare costs, including prescription drugs, was listed as the most important issue within healthcare. A follow-up KFF poll conducted in March 2019 found that 79 percent of respondents viewed the costs of prescription drugs as unreasonable and showed broad bipartisan support for a number of drug-related reforms. This discontent has not gone unnoticed by politicians: in May 2018, the Trump administration released its American Patients First blueprint, a broad plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs and reduce patient out-of-pocket expenses.

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Passing Bills

Participate in National Advocacy Day to help push forward the ASC Quality and Access Act

For this session of Congress, ASCA’s main legislative priority is the ASC Quality and Access Act. This bill would help ensure that your ASC can continue to provide high-value care for Medicare beneficiaries in your community.

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Celebrate National ASC Month

This August, facilities around the country will host open houses and facility tours for elected officials, the media and members of their community to promote awareness of ASCs and celebrate National ASC Month.

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Web Crawl

Q2 Benchmarking Reports Available August 15

The data collection period for the second quarter (Q2) of ASCA’s 2019 Clinical & Operational Benchmarking Survey closed July 31. Q2 reports will be available Thursday, August 15.

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