BY BILL PRENTICE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2022
ASCA members often tell us that the end of the year is their busiest time of year. As you are closing your books, checking off the items on your end-of-year lists, accommodating staff holiday plans and providing procedures to high numbers of patients seeking care before their deductibles reset, it is hard to add more to your already full plate. However, if you have not already renewed your ASCA membership, I encourage you to renew it now.
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BY BILL PRENTICE | SEPTEMBER 2022
Like other healthcare settings, ASCs continue to experience a staffing shortage. ASCA’s recent 60-Second Survey showed ongoing staffing issues with only 11 percent of respondents reporting no staff turnover in the past year and roughly half of facilities reporting greater than 5 percent staff turnover.
BY BILL PRENTICE | JUNE-JULY 2022
Summer is on us. While this is the time when many of us go on vacation, I want to take a moment to tell you about what ASCA is doing for you and your ASC.
BY BILL PRENTICE | APRIL 2022
Are you reading our quarterly “ASC Physician Brief”? ASCA introduced this new publication in 2021 to keep the physicians in your ASC up to date on the latest issues affecting your facility.
BY BILL PRENTICE | FEBRUARY 2022
Are you experiencing a staffing shortage in your ASC? The US is experiencing a nursing shortage, the reason for which is manifold.
BY BILL PRENTICE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2021
We are right in the middle of fall, and as the leaves swirl around and you sip your pumpkin latte, let me ask: Have you signed up for ASCA’s coding seminar yet?
BY BILL PRENTICE | SEPTEMBER 2021
During July, Medicare released its 2022 Proposed ASC Payment Rule. Medicare officials are collecting and reviewing comments on that proposal now, preparing to release a final rule.
BY BILL PRENTICE | JUNE-JULY 2021
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.
BY BILL PRENTICE | APRIL 2021
As the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out continues, we are regularly reminded that developing a vaccine and planning its distribution in less than a year is uncharted territory for most government officials.
BY BILL PRENTICE | FEBRUARY 2021
ASCA members can look forward to a variety of resources, new and old, this new year.
BY BILL PRENTICE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2020
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.
BY BILL PRENTICE | SEPTEMBER 2020
The COVID-19 lockdown halted elective surgeries and moved most routine care online. This difficult step was necessary to save space in hospitals for those who needed immediate care and to make sure that our healthcare workers had sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).
BY BILL PRENTICE | JUNE-JULY 2020
As I write this column, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. ASCA continues to work with the Trump administration and Congress to ensure ASCs can fully support COVID-19 response efforts across the country.
BY BILL PRENTICE | APRIL 2020
Whether you are talking to your patients, friends or family members, chances are someone has a story about a time they, or someone they know, received a medical bill they were not expecting. It also is likely that at least some of those invoices were for a significant amount of money.
BY BILL PRENTICE | FEBRUARY 2020
If you haven’t already registered for the ASCA 2020 Conference & Expo, May 13–16, in Orlando, Florida, I encourage you to sign up today. If you register before March 13, you will still qualify for early registration rates.
BY BILL PRENTICE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2019
One of the themes of this issue of ASC Focus is “emergency preparedness,” and as I write this column, Hurricane Dorian has just decimated parts of the Bahamas and created havoc along its entire path.
BY BILL PRENTICE | SEPTEMBER 2019
As the year wraps up and you are busy tying up loose ends, I want to remind you of two important tools from ASCA that could help your outcomes next year.
BY BILL PRENTICE | JUNE-JULY 2019
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.
BY BILL PRENTICE | APRIL 2019
While consumers can compare prices and make informed decisions before buying myriad products and services, cost and quality of health care services are not easily available. That needs to change.
BY BILL PRENTICE | FEBRUARY 2019
As the country grapples with a tragic opioid epidemic, the government and ASCA are working to support a comprehensive solution to address the abuse and misuse of pain-killers. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record.
BY BILL PRENTICE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018
Late in September, two Capitol Hill hearings provided opportunities for ASC supporters to talk with members of Congress about the value that ASCs provide to patients and the need for improved quality and price transparency in health care.
BY BILL PRENTICE | SEPTEMBER 2018
This year is shaping up to be a momentous one for the ASC community. One important reason for that is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed 2019 ASC payment rule issued in July. That proposal suggests sweeping changes to Medicare’s ASC policies.
BY BILL PRENTICE | JUNE-JULY 2018
Now that the annual meeting is behind us—and I hope all of you who were able to join us returned home with useful takeaways in the form of new ideas, information and connections—I want to share two new programs with you.
BY BILL PRENTICE | APRIL 2018
ASC professionals with specialized knowledge and skills in infection prevention can now demonstrate their expertise through an infection prevention certification program introduced this year by the Board of Ambulatory Surgery Certification (BASC). The new Certified Ambulatory Infection Preventionist (CAIP) program also provides an opportunity for infection preventionists (IP) working in the ASC setting to distinguish themselves from IPs who work in other settings and to demonstrate their commitment to best practices in infection prevention and control.
BY BILL PRENTICE | FEBRUARY 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.
BY BILL PRENTICE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2017
In early September, ASCA submitted formal comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Medicare’s proposed 2018 ASC payment rule. Also known as the 2018 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System proposed rule, it recommends ASC reimbursement rates for the coming year and other payment policies, including Medicare quality reporting requirements.
BY BILL PRENTICE | SEPTEMBER 2017
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its 2018 proposed payment rule for ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) in July. While the proposal did not address all of ASCA’s concerns regarding Medicare reimbursement for ASC services, it did show a greater recognition of the evolution in care being provided in ASCs.
BY BILL PRENTICE | JUNE-JULY 2017
This June-July issue of ASC Focus brings you articles on two key operational areas in your ASC: patient safety and marketing. Read a column on patient safety on page 8; learn about the most challenging accreditation guidelines related to medication management on page 10; find out how best to work with compounding pharmacies on page 14; consider ways to win over patients through engagement on page 16; and read about a screening colonoscopy program in a Missouri ASC that is seeing early success.
BY BILL PRENTICE | APRIL 2017
With a new administration in the White House, a new secretary at the US Department of Health and Human Services and health care front and center in Congress, one thing is certain: change is on the horizon.
BY BILL PRENTICE | FEBRUARY 2017
This issue of ASC Focus magazine looks at ASC advocacy and gives you insights into the agenda that ASCA will press with legislators, regulators and other policymakers this year. This issue also provides you with background on the members of our Government Affairs team who dedicate their time to advocating on your ASC’s behalf. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the members of this team and ASCA’s advocacy agenda, and then, to find ways that you can be more involved.
BY BILL PRENTICE | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Although January might be a more traditional time to begin forecasting hot topics and new developments that might affect ASCs in the coming year, a number of articles in this edition address emerging issues that will lead surgery centers in important new directions in 2017.
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BY BILL PRENTICE | SEPTEMBER 2016
If you read the email messages that ASCA sends its members each week and follow the news about ASCs, you likely already know that a study released in June shows that ASCs currently reduce private health insurance spending by $38 billion each year. That study also concludes that $5 billion of that savings goes directly to patients through lower deductibles and coinsurance payments.
BY BILL PRENTICE | AUGUST 2016
In 2016, Medicare released its most comprehensive ASC quality data reports to date. These reports are built on data that ASCs have been submitting to Medicare since 2012. For the first time, the reports provide the public with information on a set of ASC quality measures that, in addition to some key process measures, like the use of a safe surgery checklist, provide data on actual outcomes measures like patient burns, wrongsite surgeries and patient falls.
BY BILL PRENTICE | JUNE-JULY 2016
With nearly half of 2016 behind us, now is a good time to review some of the innovative projects and outreach efforts that ASCA has been involved with this year.
New HIPAA Workbook for ASCs. To help ASCs comply with all of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requirements, ASCA provided all of its facility and corporate members with a free HIPAA compliance workbook this spring. This workbook, developed specifically for ASCs, includes an in-depth review of the HIPAA requirements and a comprehensive set of customizable forms and worksheets that you can use to design, evaluate and strengthen your ASC’s compliance program.
BY BILL PRENTICE | MAY 2016
ASCA has developed a video, “What Is an ASC?,” that explains ASCs in clear and concise terms. We have posted the video on ASCA’s Advancing Surgical Care Campaign web site and on ASCA’s YouTube channel. I encourage you to share the video with your community by directing them to that site or by adding the video to your own web site.
BY BILL PRENTICE | APRIL 2016
ASCs that renew their ASCA membership for 2016 and ASCs that are joining for the first time this year now have a valuable new resource at their fingertips: the HIPAA Workbook for ASCs. This workbook is designed specifically for ASCs and offers a comprehensive set of tools and information that your ASC can use to comply with all of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requirements. ASCA is providing this new resource free to all facility and corporate members this year to add value to the rich benefits package we already offer and to support ASCA members in adopting best practices in HIPAA compliance.
BY BILL PRENTICE | MARCH 2016
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and I have good news to share: ASCs in New York City (NYC) took part in a citywide initiative that increased the rate of colorectal cancer screening by colonoscopy in the city from 42 percent to 69 percent between 2003 and 2011. During the same eight-year period, that initiative also helped eliminate racial and ethnic screening disparities among black, white, Hispanic and Asian New Yorkers. Now a new task force has set its sights even higher, and has a strategy to bring NYC’s screening rate up to 80 percent.
BY BILL PRENTICE | FEBRUARY 2016
ASCA’s annual meeting this year will take place Thursday through Sunday, May 19–22, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. If you haven’t registered already, I encourage you to make plans now to attend.
BY BILL PRENTICE | JANUARY 2016
New Year’s greetings. I hope all of you had a successful 2015 and are looking forward to the year ahead.
In 2016, ASCA is embarking on a new strategic plan that was developed with your needs and priorities in mind. The ASCA Board and staff will use this plan to guide our activities and the issues that we work on over the next three years on your behalf.