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ASC Quality Compare Site Available

The Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program recently announced a new webpage, ASC Facility Compare Tool, designed to enhance the display of measure data from Hospital Compare. The ASC Facility Compare Tool allows the public to compare ASCQR Program quality measure information for the past payment year. Searches are available by city and state or ZIP code. Additionally, comparisons of up to three individually selected facilities, regardless of city, state or ZIP code, can be made by entering a facility’s National Provider Identifier (NPI).

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2019 Proposed Medicare Payment Rule Released

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2019 proposed payment rule for ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs).

In addition, CMS has addressed a number of long-requested ASCA priorities, including proposing to align update factors, moving ASCs to the hospital market basket that is used to update HOPD payments. Under the proposal, CMS would use the hospital market basket to update ASC payments for the five-year period of calendar year (CY) 2019 through CY 2023.

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ASCQR Program Announces Orthopedic and Urology ASC Measures Dry Run

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced earlier this week that facilities will be granted early access to their data for two measures in the ASC Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program

The “dry run” for ASC-17: Hospital Visits after Orthopedic ASC Procedures and ASC-18: Hospital Visits after Urology ASC Procedures will occur from August 1–30, 2018. During this window, facilities will be able to review the data used to calculate their results, learn how to interpret their measure results and ask questions about the measures. Please note that the measure results provided during the dry run will not be used for public reporting or payment determination.

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Celebrate National ASC Month this August

For more than forty years, ASCs have provided high-quality, cost-efficient surgical care for millions of Americans. In that time, ASCs have transformed the outpatient experience by offering a convenient and personalized alternative to the hospital outpatient surgical setting. For the last decade, ASCs have promoted awareness of these contributions by opening their doors to their communities and hosting National ASC Month events. By hosting an event in your community, you can educate key policy and decision makers about the benefits of ASCs and encourage public awareness of your ASC. Effective events include inviting your elected officials to tour your surgery center and hosting an open house to provide more information to patients. Learn how to become a part of raising the profile of ASCs, how to build a personal relationship with your elected officials and ultimately effect change in legislation and regulations by emailing Danielle Kaster at

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VA MISSION Act Supports ASCs as They Deliver Care to Veterans

The $55 billion VA MISSION Act requires all non-Veterans Affairs (VA) provider claims be reimbursed in 30-45 calendar days. This provision supports ASCs and enables veterans to more easily than ever gain access to the high-quality community care. In addition to the new claims reimbursement process, the VA MISSION Act authorizes local provider agreements with the VA that, according to a U.S. Senate bill summary, will “remove bureaucratic red tape and meet veterans’ need for care in the community.”

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NHSN Reconsent Deadline Extension

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a deadline extension for completing the online National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Agreement to Participate and Consent form, referred to as the Consent in this announcement. The new deadline for completing the Consent, July 9, 2018, applies to ALL facilities currently enrolled in NHSN regardless of their CMS participation. The reconsent is accessible to only the NHSN Facility Administrator or Primary Contact user. The new deadline provides additional time for each facility’s NHSN Facility Administrator or Primary Contact to complete the online Consent and avoid any interruptions in access to the NHSN application, including access for purposes of submitting data to meet local, state, or federal reporting requirements. Please be informed that if the Consent is not completed by the new deadline, access to NHSN will be temporarily suspended. Additionally, users will receive an error message when they attempt to log into NHSN redirecting them to the Facility Administrator or Primary Contact. NHSN is pleased to assist with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the Consent process. For more information on how to complete the NHSN Agreement to Participate and Consent process, please visit, You may also direct questions to

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Hagerstown surgery center completes first total knee replacement without narcotics

Hagerstown Herald-Mail (MD) (05/07/18) Bonk, Valerie

MASA Member, Cumberland Surgery Center, performed the first total joint replacement surgery for the center in which doctors and anesthesiologists would not use narcotics.

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MEMA Leds Virtual "Atlantic Fury " Exercise

Twenty-five ASCs across Maryland participated in today's "Atlantic Fury" Virtual Emergency Preparedness Private Sector Exercise. This exercise represents MEMA's dedication to engaging with the private sector as we all prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency events. As in a real disaster, MEMA disseminated notifications, situation updates, and other relevant information from their Business Operations Center. MEMA followed the exercise with a hotwash (immediate "after-action" discussion and evaluation) allowing the ASC representatives to provide feedback.

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Annual Prescription Take Back Day

April 28, 2018

On Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its 15th opportunity in 7 years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Last fall Americans turned in 456 tons (912,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,300 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 14 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 9 million pounds—more than 4,500 tons—of pills. This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

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FDA Releases Draft Guidance on Bulk Drug Compounding

Last Friday, the FDA released a new draft guidance regarding bulk drug substances that outsourcing facilities can use for compounding. This is part of the FDA’s larger 2018 Compounding Policy Priorities Plan that was covered back in February. This guidance in particular covers what the FDA considers when determining whether a bulk substance will be safe to compound, and how they will keep track of those substances that have been approved or not. A new “503B Bulks List” managed by the FDA will delineate those substances deemed safe to compound. Nominations to the list will be made on a rolling basis, and the FDA will determine whether there is a “clinical need” for the substance to be compounded based on a multi-step process.

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Quality Reporting Deadline Reminders

As a reminder, the submission deadline for all ASC Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program web-based measures is May 15, 2018. ASC-8: Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel is reported through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). ASC-9: Endoscopy/Polyp Surveillance: Appropriate Follow-Up Interval for Normal Colonoscopy in Average Risk Patients and ASC-10: Endoscopy/Polyp Surveillance: Colonoscopy Interval for Patients with a History of Adenomatous Polyps – Avoidance of Inappropriate Use are reported via QualityNet. This is the first year that the web-based measure reporting dates are aligned. Please contact ASCQR Program support through the Outpatient and ASC Questions and Answers tool at, or by calling, toll-free, 866.800.8756.

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Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Faults Kaiser Health News and USA Today for Sensationalism and Misrepresentation of Safety and Quality in Ambulatory Surgery Centers

ALEXANDRIA, VA, MARCH 2, 2018—The leadership of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), the country’s leading representative and advocate of ambulatory surgery centers, today sharply rebuked both Kaiser Health News (KHN) and USA Today for their March 2, 2018, report about outpatient surgery, “As Surgery Centers Boom, Patients Are Paying With Their Lives,” by Christina Jewett and Mark Alesia.

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New Certification for Infection Preventionists in ASC Settings

In 2018, the Board of Ambulatory Surgery Certification (BASC) will introduce the new Certified Ambulatory Infection Preventionist (CAIP)™ credential, the first certification designed specifically for infection preventionists working in the ASC industry. For additional information visit the new website.

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IV Therapy Shortages Update

The FDA and the Office of Drug Shortages release information on a regular basis regarding shortages. Premier, a GPO, has met with the FDA and provided its members with an extensive IV Therapy Shortages Update. To access this extensive update, click on the link below.

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NHSN Requires Updated Agreement

The January 23rd release of the NHSN 8.8.1 application will introduce an updated NHSN Agreement to Participate and Consent for current NHSN facility users who enrolled in NHSN prior to December 2, 201

Facilities that enrolled in NHSN on or after December 2, 2017, have already accessed this new Consent and will not need to accept it again if they have already done so. Primary Contacts or Facility Administrators should agree to this updated Consent form for each component by April 14th, 2018, or risk losing access to NHSN. Once the Consent form is available on January 23rd, an alert will appear on all NHSN component home pages, and primary contacts and facility administrators will receive an email notification. Additional information, including Frequently Asked Questions and the updated NHSN purposes, are available on CDC's NHSN website: If you have any questions, please send an email to with the subject line “NHSN Reconsent.”

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MPSC Recruiting ASC's to Participate in Clean Collaborative-Phase 2

Last year the Maryland Patient Safety Center launched Phase I of a collaborative called the Clean Collaborative, the explored best practices in surface decontamination. Several Maryland ASCs participated in this collaborative. MPSC had much success in Phase I and as a result have added a second phase for improving surface contamination and the spread of infection in healthcare settings.

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2018 OPPS/ASC Final Rule- Changes to the Quality Reporting Requirements

The Calendar Year (CY) 2018 OPPS/ASC Final Rule is now published, with several changes in the ASC Quality Reporting Program. Listed below are a few of the highlights.

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CMS Releases Final Payment Rule for 2018

As reported yesterday by ASCA, CMS released its 2018 final payment rule for ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs). Both ASCs and HOPDs will receive lower increases than were proposed in July. On average, ASC payment rates will increase by 1.2 percent in 2018. This increase is based on a projected rate of inflation of 1.7 percent minus a 0.5 percentage point productivity adjustment required by the Affordable Care Act. HOPDs will receive a 1.35 percent increase, based on a 2.7 percent market basket update minus a 0.6 percent adjustment for economy-wide productivity and a 0.75 percentage point adjustment required by statute. Rates for various specialties and individual codes can vary greatly.

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Request for Formal Public Comment Period on Proposed State Health Plan Chapter for General Surgical Services

The Maryland Health Commission is now accepting comments on the proposed changes to the State Health Plan involving the CON process for Ambulatory Surgery Centers. Please submit comments on proposed COMAR 10.24.11, the State Health Plan for Facilities and Services: General Surgical Services, by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28, 2017. Comments may be mailed to the attention of Eileen Fleck, Chief, Acute Care Policy and Planning, Maryland Health Care Commission, 4160 Patterson Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21215, emailed to, or faxed to Ms. Fleck at (410) 358-1311. Please click on the link below to access the proposed changes.

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Maryland Health Care Commission Launches “Wear the Cost,” A First In The Nation Campaign to Increase Transparency and Consumer Engagement on Health Care Costs

The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) today launched a groundbreaking initiative that will shed light on cost and quality differences among Maryland hospitals—information that, until now, has been largely unavailable, particularly in such a consumer friendly form. The initiative, “Wear the Cost,” aims to begin a statewide conversation about disparities in pricing and quality with the ultimate goal of improving health care affordability for Maryland residents. At the center of this initiative is “,” a platform for educating consumers about cost and quality disparities across Maryland, and ultimately enabling them to become more savvy shoppers of health care.

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Advice Regarding IV Fluid Shortages

The FDA has already raised the red flag about potential drug shortages in the U.S. due to damaged production plants for almost 50 pharmaceutical companies that have facilities in Puerto Rico. Several organizations are offering advice to help health care facilities deal with the shortages of IV Fluids resulting from Hurricane Maria.

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Discussion Tackles Lack of Opioid Education in Outpatient Treatment

Last week a group of ASC Administrators and nurses met to discuss the difficulties of dealing with patient pain following surgery. It began as a discussion about educating staff members at outpatient medical facilities--where patients are treated but not admitted for overnight stays --about the difficulties of prescription opioids.

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Baxter Facilities Impacted by Hurricane Maria

Baxter is continuing it's recovery from the impact of Hurricane Maria to its Caribbean manufacturing and distribution facilities.

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CMS Emergency Preparedness Interpretive Guidelines for Surveyors

CMS published its Emergency Preparedness Interpretive Guidelines for surveyors. Surveyors will begin siting non-compliance with these requirements beginning November 16, 2017.

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ASCA Submits Comments on CMS Proposed Payment Rule

ASCA submitted its formal comments in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 2018 proposed payment rule, which, among other payment policies, proposes the reimbursement rates for the coming year.

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CMS Requires Annual Testing of Smoke and Fire Doors

CMS adopted the 2012 edition of the NFPA Life Safety Code, which includes requirements for the maintenance, inspection, and testing of fire doors and smoke doors in certain certified healthcare facilities, including ASCs. Please click on attached link for a PDF of the memo.

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Maryland ASCs Participate in National Advocacy Day in D.C.

MASA President Andrea Hyatt, CASC along with Melinda Clay R.N., Tina DiMarino R.N. and Angela Robinson, R.N.; participated in National Advocacy Day on Capital Hill. The group spent time meeting with State Legislators to educate them on the two bills introduced by ASCA. The relationships MASA builds with our local and federal officials are vital to the continuing success of the ASC industry. Please click on the attached links to read about the proposed legislation.

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Final Rule Issued to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

OSHA Updates Its Regulations

In 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a proposed rule to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses through the electronic collection of establishment-specific injury and illness data. After receiving comments on the proposal, OSHA issued the final rule that became effective January 1, 2017 (Occupational Safety and Health Administration 29 CFR Part 1904).

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