Departments

Departments

 

Message from the President

Anesthesia and COVID-19

As millions of Americans get their COVID-19 vaccination, mortality rates connected to the virus have receded, but the infection rate continues to rise in many states. If you are operating on a patient who has recently recovered from the disease, do you know when it is safe for them to have anesthesia?


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Message from the CEO

Participate in ASCA’s 60-Second Survey

In spring, ASCA introduced a bimonthly email survey series named 60-Second Survey. Each survey will take approximately a minute to complete and will not require pulling complicated data from your record-keeping system.


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As I See It

Finding the Right Space for Your ASC

Navigating the challenges of building new, retrofitting or adaptive reuse

“So, can it be done?” A healthcare client asked me this question after we surveyed a building they were considering for a new specialty care procedure center and clinic.


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Doing Business

Improve Your Revenue Cycle Performance

Graduate from ‘good enough’ to ‘great’

To get paid, ASCs must perform a series of functions, including insurance verification, authorization, chart prep, dictation and transcription, coding, claim submission and payment posting.


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Medicare

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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Advocacy

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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Trends

Emerging Trends in the Face of the Pandemic

The virus has enhanced the appeal of ASCs by highlighting their strengths and advantages

Prior to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the national ASC market was already experiencing substantial growth due to its placement across two converging trends: the consumerization of healthcare services and the ongoing industry-wide transition from fee-for-service care to value-based care.


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Awards

Nap Gary’s Legacy Continues Through ASCA Lifetime Award

Who can nominate and how

The ASCA Board of Directors established the Nap Gary Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement in the ASC Community to recognize individuals whose contributions have made a difference in the ASC industry.


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Tribute

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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Coding

Hurdles Slowing Down Migration of Procedures

Barriers to moving complex procedures from HOPDs to your ASC

CY 2021 brought policy and reimbursement changes that would seem to position ASCs favorably for an obvious migration of cases from the hospital outpatient department (HOPD) to the ASC.


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Improve Claim Compliance

Use correct modifiers

In the coding world, modifiers are two-digit symbols added to CPT procedure codes to signify the procedure has been altered in some way.


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Compliance

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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Regulations

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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Marketing

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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Insurance

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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Legislature

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

Stay on the Forefront of Efficiency and Quality

Consider these new strategies

During the last 27 years, as an ophthalmic surgeon, I also was part owner of an ASC in Washington, DC. While I was able to transition successfully, I wish I had had many of the tools and features available today that would have made my life easier and my business more profitable.


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Technology

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

Build an Effective Infection Prevention Program

Rely on sound policies, careful training and accountability

ASC employees often wear multiple hats and fill multiple roles that are normally individualized at larger facilities. In some cases, surgery centers have tight reprocessing areas or limited equipment, tools or chemistries to reprocess devices. Having access to the most updated instructions for use (IFU) is critical for success in this field and these situations.


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Cybersecurity

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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Finances

Staying Afloat during and after the Pandemic

Keep a close eye on your revenue cycle

While the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for outpatient surgery to be available outside the hospital setting, ASCs across the country continue to grapple with revenue cycle challenges presented by pandemic-related slowdowns in case volume and reimbursement from payers.


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Billing

Is Your Billing Team Performing Optimally?

Take a deep dive into your processes to decide

Your ASC is well-positioned in the community. It has a good reputation, as do your providers. Your caseload is steady or perhaps growing. You have a happy, busy staff.


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Regulatory Review

ASCs Severely Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

ASCA continues to support surgery centers through persistent advocacy

On January 31, 2020, then Secretary of the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar formally declared a public health emergency (PHE) in the US due to confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-n-CoV, which became known as COVID-19). At that time, we did not yet know how this new disease would impact our healthcare system or daily life.


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Advocacy Spotlight

The Art of Advocacy

ASCA’s Government Affairs Committee chair shares her secrets to successful campaigning

Annie Sariego, RN, CASC, market president of Physicians Endoscopy (PE) GI Solutions, in Jamison, Pennsylvania, serves as the chair of ASCA’s Government Affairs Committee.


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Member Profile

John Blanck

John Blanck, senior vice president of operations for Surgery Partners, shares his top three pieces of advice for ASCs looking to build new or relocate.


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ASCA News

Reap the Educational Benefits of ASCA 2021 On Demand

All the sessions of the ASCA 2021 Virtual Conference are now available on demand through the ASCA Learning Hub.


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Web Crawl

Virtual Courses Now Available On Demand

ASCA’s Infection Prevention for ASCs and Management Essentials for ASC Administrators virtual courses are now available on demand through the ASCA Learning Hub.


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