Departments

Departments

Message from the President

Defending Our Facilities Against Data Breaches

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.


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Message from the CEO

Renew Your Membership, Help ASCA Work for Your ASC

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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As I See It

Improve the Patient Experience

Build best practices into your front-end procedures

In today’s competitive healthcare environment, creating a patient experience strategy that addresses patient expectations, improves patient satisfaction and strengthens patient loyalty can differentiate your surgery center from the competition. Since your front desk staff and front-end procedures are one of the initial touchpoints for patients, improving the quality of the patient experience can begin with improving front-end procedures.


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Doing Business

Engage Physicians Effectively

Necessary tips for success

Successful ASCs rely on strong and efficient partnerships with physicians. As ASCs continue to expand and strengthen their role in the healthcare delivery system, it is critical that the industry continues to evolve by finding more effective and efficient ways to engage physicians.


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ASCA 2022

Who Signs on the Dotted Line?

Come to ASCA 2022 to learn how to avoid legal risks during the informed consent process

When we are out doing surveys, we see that people do not have a clear understanding of the informed consent process. The process is more than just a form that needs to be signed before a procedure. It involves multiple steps.


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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

Sg2 Annual Report Projects Double-Digit ASC Growth

Expansion expected in nearly all major specialties

ASCs will see 15 percent and 25 percent growth in the next 5 and 10 years, respectively, according to Sg2’s 2022 Impact of Change Forecast Highlights.


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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

Bundling Care

An ASC director of operations discusses value-based payments in her surgery center

Becky Ziegler-Otis, CASC, ASCA Board member and director of operations for revenue cycle at Ambulatory Surgical Center of Stevens Point in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, recently talked with ASC Focus about how the center’s prior experience with bundled payments helped prepare it to participate in WC Bundled Payments, Trilogy Health Solutions’ workers’ compensation cost-containment program.


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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

Eliminate Common ASC Coding and Billing Compliance Issues

Follow these steps

Noncompliant coding and billing can lead to increased denials, missed reimbursement opportunities and unnecessary refunds. Additionally, poor compliance outcomes harm surgeon and patient satisfaction and could lead to more serious consequences, including loss of payer contracts and legal ramifications.


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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

Review Key Revenue Cycle Metrics as Your ASC Grows

Consider improving processes in these four areas as your center adds more complex procedures to its list

Driven by continuous successful outcomes in the outpatient setting, ASCs have emphasized incorporating more complex procedures into their repertoires as a formative growth strategy.


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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

Explaining HIPAA

What your ASC needs to know about federal cybersecurity enforcement

Health institutions have existed in the US for hundreds of years—Benjamin Franklin founded the first hospital in Pennsylvania in 1751—but national policies offering protections for confidential patient health information are more recent. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, was signed into law on August 21, 1996.


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Advocacy Spotlight

States Continue Shift to Align with CMS Burden Reduction Changes

Four change laws on H&Ps, transfer agreements

Alaska, Delaware, Illinois and Ohio have now finalized changes to regulations governing ASCs, aligning them with changes made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2019. All four states amended their medical history and physical examination (H&P) requirements in the last 12 months, while Alaska and Illinois also changed their written transfer agreement requirements.


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Member Profile

Michelle George, RN, CASC

Michelle George, RN, CASC, vice president of clinical quality for SCA Health in Pasadena, California, discusses the most important steps to improve patient experience in an ASC.


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Industry Insight

William A. Miller

William A. Miller, partner at Higgs, Fletcher, & Mack LLP in San Diego, California, discusses the most important legal issues for ASCs this year.


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ASCA News

Renew Your Membership for 2023

Your dues dollars support the critical advocacy and public information campaigns ASCA conducts on your behalf. Renew your membership online by December 31 to make sure you continue to receive this magazine and can take advantage of all your other member benefits.


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Web Crawl

Register for ASCA 2023

Register today for the ASCA 2023 Conference & Expo, May 17–20, 2023, at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky.


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