Message from the President

What Will 2021 Bring to the ASC Industry?

As excited as we are about leaving 2020 in our rearview mirror, we have most likely come to the realization that 2021 will hold its own set of challenges and opportunities.

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Message from the CEO

Onward and Upward

2020 has been an unusual year, to say the least. As the country continues to battle COVID-19 and we get used to the new normal, the end of the year seems like a good time to thank our members for their support in ASCA’s advocacy efforts.

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As I See It

ASCs Prove to Be a Vital Resource during the Pandemic

Caring for our communities as we fight COVID-19

When COVID-19 began threatening the health of our nation, the ASC community was impacted immediately. Consistent with the guidelines issued by the US surgeon general and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in March 2019, all nonessential elective procedures were postponed.

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Doing Business

Tips for Increasing Patient Safety during a Pandemic

Manage equipment, supplies and staffing wisely

Surgery center operations are categorized into areas that help maintain patient and staff safety. How do we best use our resources in these categories to follow infection prevention guidelines during a pandemic?

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History and Role of MedPAC

Where do ASCs fit in

On two mornings every month between September and January, a long line of people waits to enter a wood-paneled meeting room in the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington, DC. Whether they are lobbyists, regulatory consultants or patient advocates, the people in line all have a special interest in health policy.

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Host Facility Tours

Educate your lawmakers and advocate for ASCs

In 2019, ASCA members hosted facility tours for state and federal lawmakers representing diverse constituencies across the country. These tours helped shore up support for ASCs among longstanding legislators and introduced new state and federal officials to the ASC setting.

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ASC Valuation and Transaction Trends

Transaction activity remains robust, more HOPDs convert to ASCs and median reported EBITDA multiples continue to increase

HealthCare Appraisers released its 2020 ASC Valuation and Benchmarking Survey in spring. ASCA collaborated with HealthCare Appraisers on conducting the survey, which includes insights from owners and managers of more than 1,200 ASCs throughout the US.

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In Memoriam

ASC community remembers a beloved leader

Randy Leffler, 51, executive director of the Ohio Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (OAASC), passed away last December.

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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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How to Correctly Code and Bill for Premium IOLs

Watch out for these potential problem areas

Several compliance issues could come up with the use of intraocular lenses (IOL) used in cataract cases performed on Medicare patients in ASCs. These compliance issues involve the use of premium lenses.

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Establish a Respiratory Protection Program

Protocols, respirator tests and documentation required

Surgery centers never had to have a full respiratory protection program before now, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent use of respirators, they might soon have to write and implement one.

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HIPAA Biannual Update

July to December 2018

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

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Legal Matters

Informed Consent Process in Ambulatory Surgery

Review state laws and AHRQ materials before creating your policy

In rare situations, the duration of the informed consent could present an issue. Some state laws presume that a written authorization signed by the patient is valid. Some states might specify the time frame in which consent remains valid; others require that consent be obtained no more than 30 days from the procedure. Therefore, checking state regulations is essential.

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Build a Data-Driven Marketing Program

Foster relationships by eliminating the guesswork

Relying on word-of-mouth to cultivate awareness is not enough to establish and build reputation among potential patients in today’s competitive healthcare marketplace. Patients are using various means to shop for and select their care providers, and it is helpful to have a marketing program that connects with people as they consider options.

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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 US 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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Air-Cleaning Options for Facility Hygiene

Purification systems and UV-C technology help reduce the spread of infectious particles

Now that we know that COVID-19 can be airborne during medical procedures that generate aerosols, implementing technologies and best practices that limit the potential exposure of pathogens in aerosols has become essential.

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Infection Prevention

A Day in the (Current) Life of an ASC Infection Preventionist

More responsibilities and more stress in the changed world of COVID-19

My, how things have changed in a year. Last year, some of my biggest concerns were checking to see if any of our patients had acquired a surgical site infection (SSI), monitoring hand hygiene among the staff, physicians and vendors and observing what was going on in the surgical area itself.

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Preparing for and Responding to a Data Breach

Have a written plan, implement it in a timely manner and communicate with your patients

ASCs are attractive targets for cybercriminals. Surgery centers collect and store vast amounts of sensitive personal information. This is highly valued as it can be used for identity theft, blackmail and extortion.

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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.

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Regulatory Review

ASCA Advocacy in the Pandemic

Quick action to tackle COVID-19 challenges bears fruit

This is the second part of a two-part column. Look for the first part in the November–December 2020 Regulatory Review.

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Advocacy Spotlight

Review of the 116th Congress

The House and Senate worked through many ASCA priorities this session

This is the second part of a two-part column. Look for the first part in the November-December 2020 Advocacy Spotlight.

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Member Profile

Gary Richberg, RN, CASC

Gary Richberg, RN, CASC, director of ambulatory surgery centers at Kadlec Clinic in Richland, Washington, shares what he believes are the top three issues facing the ASC community this year.

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Subscribe to Benchmarking in 2021, Get a Free Publication

Subscribe now to ASCA’s 2021 Clinical & Operational Benchmarking Survey to compare your ASC’s clinical outcomes, staff indicators and billing performance with national and regional data throughout 2021.

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Web Crawl

Renew Your ASCA Membership for 2021

If you have not already done so, act now to avoid losing access to this magazine and other vital ASCA member benefits.

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