BY MANDY HAWKINS, RN, CASC, CAIP | SEPTEMBER 2023
Summer is at an end and it is time to think about emergency preparedness in our centers. Establishing and maintaining a written “all-hazard” disaster preparedness plan for our centers, staff, patients and others in our facilities in the event of an emergency will help us provide a timely and coordinated response in case of an emergency.
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BY MANDY HAWKINS, RN, CASC, CAIP | JUNE-JULY 2023
Advancements in technology are transforming healthcare, but what exactly is healthcare technology and how is it affecting ASCs? The World Health Organization defines health technology as the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives.
BY MANDY HAWKINS, RN, CASC, CAIP | APRIL 2023
We are off and running in 2023. ASCs continue to be the preferred site of care by physicians, payers and patients. Our volumes are back up; we are adding new service lines, yet we are still facing the same staffing challenges. Many healthcare workers are burned out, sick of the increased workload with no extra help.
BY MANDY HAWKINS, RN, CASC, CAIP | FEBRUARY 2023
Last year, at our spring meeting, members of the ASCA Board of Directors approved a resolution to create a volunteer task force within ASCA to address issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the ASC community. Since then, we have recruited 12 ASCA members who have volunteered to look at employment in the ASC industry, the diversity of our patient population and the ways in which we can improve our cultural competencies as healthcare providers.
BY MANDY HAWKINS, RN, CASC, CAIP | JANUARY 2023
The industry forecast for ASCs can be described in one word: booming. Competition has led to collaboration and the migration of more complex procedures into the ambulatory setting. As hospitals and private equity firms consider new models in ambulatory surgery, they are now partnering with and acquiring ASCs, building ASCs and working with ASC management companies.
BY MANDY HAWKINS, RN, CASC, CAIP | OCTOBER 2022
Since January this year, healthcare organizations across the country posted 337 breaches of protected health information (PHI) affecting 500 or more individuals. Consistent with previous time periods, the vast majority of the breaches—95 percent in the first half of 2022—were caused by unauthorized access or hacking.
BY MANDY HAWKINS, RN, CASC | AUGUST 2022
Summer is in full swing and vacations are on everyone’s schedules. Meanwhile, ASCs are adjusting to updated guidance the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released recently and staffing continues to challenge us all.
BY MICHAEL PATTERSON | MAY 2022
It is that time of year when the cold weather starts to ease a bit and we find ourselves outdoors and looking forward to summer. One thing to consider at this time is how to maintain the safety of family and friends while participating in our favorite outdoor activities. It also is a great time to review and update the patient safety protocols and procedures at our facilities.
BY MICHAEL PATTERSON | MARCH 2022
After two years of offering our annual conference virtually, all of us at ASCA are excited to be back in person next month for the ASCA 2022 Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas, April 27–30.
BY MICHAEL PATTERSON | JANUARY 2022
This is the time of year when we start to find out what the new year will look like, how our budgets will match expectations, what our volumes will be and all the other details that go with planning for the year. For those of you that thought the fiscal year 2021 budget process was going to be a challenge, welcome to 2022.
BY MICHAEL PATTERSON | OCTOBER 2021
Telehealth use has increased to 38 times its pre-COVID-19 baseline, according to McKinsey & Company. A year ago, $250 billion of US healthcare spend was estimated to be shifted to virtual care; post COVID-19, telehealth could be a quarter-trillion-dollar industry.
BY MICHAEL PATTERSON | AUGUST 2021
The COVID-19 global pandemic has certainly showed us that communication is key when working through opportunities and challenges alike. While several aspects of how we do business changed, the need to communicate with our legislators was ever present as we worked to meet the needs of our communities during this public health emergency.
BY MICHAEL PATTERSON | MAY 2021
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?
BY MICHAEL PATTERSON | MARCH 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in myriad ways. The healthcare supply chain was not an exception and experienced major disruptions this past year.
BY MICHAEL PATTERSON | JANUARY 2021
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.
BY MICHAEL PATTERSON | OCTOBER 2020
As the world works out how to live with COVID-19, we, the healthcare providers and facilities, have an obligation to keep our patients informed, safe and educated.
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | AUGUST 2020
Exceptional patient care and safety have always been the top priorities for ASCs, and that has not changed since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | MAY 2020
The COVID-19 battle rages on as the nation and its healthcare system struggle to get ahead of the pandemic.
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | MARCH 2020
ASCA 2020 is right around the corner, and I hope you are making plans to attend one of the finest ASC educational and networking events of the year.
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | JANUARY 2020
Without excellence in clinical care, we will, over time, become extinct. Just being the lower-cost provider is useless without the best clinical outcomes. When we combine these two pillars of the industry—lower cost and clinical excellence—we create value for our stakeholders.
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | OCTOBER 2019
Summer is over and I see back-to-school product marketing all around. That makes me think about how rarely we see ads for surgery centers or specials in healthcare.
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | AUGUST 2019
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.
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | MAY 2019
It doesn’t matter if you spell it orthopaedics or orthopedics, this specialty is very important to the ASC industry. As Baby Boomers, we have worn out our hyaline cartilage, torn our rotator cuffs and, in general, have worn out.
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | MARCH 2019
Use of technology has been increasing in surgery centers for many years. As we continue to meet the needs of surgeons and patients in the future, will technology be your friend or foe?
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | JANUARY 2019
Whether you are working with a single independent consumer or a representative from a workplace sponsored plan, today’s consumers are seeking decreased cost, increased quality and an improved experience in their health care encounters. How well are you prepared to meet their demands?
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | OCTOBER 2018
Data is changing the face of the world. To continuously improve, a business needs to collect data, analyze it and make changes based on that analysis. This process is critical for all businesses, but especially, the business of health care. Data collected over years helps a business influence its competitive advantage and sustainability.
BY LARRY TAYLOR, CASC | AUGUST 2018
Greetings. As you might already know, I was elected president of ASCA’s Board of Directors this past April. As president, I look forward to using this space to discuss some of the important issues confronting ASCs and helping to define our practices and policies and the care we deliver to our patients.
BY REBECCA CRAIG, RN, CASC | MAY 2018
Networking with participants at ASCA’s annual meetings each year always reminds me of the incredible people who work in this industry. Their passion and dedication for those we serve is inspiring. Once we “sharpen our saw” with this great educational opportunity each year, we return to our centers and look for areas of improvement. We need to continuously search for these opportunities in our quest to provide outstanding care and service to all our customers—our patients, physicians and team members—because this is what sets us apart.
BY REBECCA CRAIG, RN, CASC | MARCH 2018
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.
BY REBECCA CRAIG, RN, CASC | JANUARY 2018
New Year’s greetings.
“The old order changeth, yielding place to new,” and along with the new, come changes. The ASC industry is known for its ability to be nimble and adapt quickly to the ever-changing health care landscape. This flexibility keeps us at the top of our game to ensure we continue to provide high-quality, cost-effective health care to our customers. We have no room in our industry for complacency or status quo. I encourage all of us to continuously be seeking improvements in our everyday activities and processes.
BY REBECCA CRAIG, RN, CASC | OCTOBER 2017
ASCA rolled out a new program this year that gives the association’s facility members and ASCs across the country easy access to several important resources they can use to meet regulatory requirements, cut costs, educate staff and continue to deliver top-quality patient care.
BY REBECCA CRAIG, RN, CASC | AUGUST 2017
In the last few months, some of you might have received a letter from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) talking about Medicare’s new Quality Payment Program. This program is part of a large-scale shift in the way Medicare pays physicians and other clinicians since Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2015.
BY REBECCA CRAIG, RN, CASC | MAY 2017
Late last year, Congress adopted two important measures that ASCA and ASCs had been supporting for some time (see Digital Debut). While we appreciate the congressional support that those provisions received, the work ASCs need to do on Capitol Hill is far from over.
BY REBECCA CRAIG, RN, CASC | MARCH 2017
The evidence is clear: effective colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) prevents colon cancer and lowers the risk of death due to CRC. For more on this topic, listen to Richard Wender, MD, at www.ascassociation.org/wender.
BY REBECCA CRAIG, RN, CASC | JANUARY 2017
Have you made your travel arrangements? ASCA 2017 is May 3–6 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, just minutes from Washington, DC. With more than 60 educational sessions, an exhibit hall filled with state-of-the-art, time- and money-saving solutions for your ASC and a one-of-a-kind opportunity to join your colleagues in visiting Capitol Hill to advocate for policies that protect and support your ASC, this meeting is one you just can’t miss.
BY REBECCA CRAIG, RN, CASC | OCTOBER 2016
Start your New Year right by participating in one of three new seminars that ASCA is offering in San Antonio, Texas, this January. Developed to address critical operational areas in your facility that ASC managers and staff routinely tell us keep them up at night, these three programs will give you the essential information you need to make sure that your ASC is in compliance, on solid financial ground and on track for future success.