33 things for ASC leaders to know - October

Here are 33 things to know for the month of October.

Rush University Medical Center & Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush receive approval for $21M ASC
Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved Chicago-based practices Rush University Medical Center and Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush's plans to build a new building, featuring a surgery center, in Oak Brook. The practices estimate the surgery center will cost $21 million.

NJ Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers sends members to Capitol Hill in support of access to care bills
A delegation of the New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers traveled to Washington to meet with New Jersey congressmens' staff members to advocate for two bills which would improve access to care in ASC settings. After meeting with staffers, the delegations went to Capitol Hill and spoke to representatives about the bills and the benefits of ASCs.

Revenue totals $1.3B for Pennsylvania ASCs in FY 2015, up 4.3%
Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council released its 2015 annual report. which found the number of surgery centers throughout the state fell from 288 centers in FY 2014 to 286 centers in FY 2015. Revenue during FY 2015 reached $1.25 billion for ASCs, up from nearly $1.2 billion the year before. Overall, ASCs in the state performed 949,284 outpatient procedures in FY 2015, up 2.2 percent from 929,192 procedures in FY 2014.

Stryker courts ASCs with Ascential spine device, inventory management solution
Stryker introduced a new implant delivery solution for low-acuity spine surgeries designed for the ASC. The new solution, Ascential, offers sterile-packaged implants, customized service levels and a streamlined distribution model. It is intended for operational efficiencies, competitive pricing and reduced operating costs for ASCs.

Outpatient Surgery Center of Hilton Head sells for $8M
After being listed for sale Oct. 17, the Outpatient Surgery Center of Hilton Head sold for $8 million. The center was built in 2004 and is 19,729 square feet. The center has two operation rooms, two procedure rooms and two endoscopy suites. It sold to a private investor.

MEDNAX acquires Central New York Anesthesia Group
MEDNAX acquired Syracuse-based Central New York Anesthesia Group, a private physician group practice. MEDNAX will add CNY Anesthesia to its offerings in its New York market. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CareCredit expands locations, scope of coverage
CareCredit expanded to new locations and healthcare sectors. CareCredit was established nearly 30 years ago initially for dental implant technology and has grown to include many other services. The card can help patients pay for higher deductibles and increasing out-of-pocket costs while allowing practices to collect their payment at the time of treatment.

Dayton Children's to open $47.5M specialty center, equipped with surgery center
Dayton Children's is opening a new specialty care center that includes an outpatient surgery center in Miamisburg, Ohio. Dayton Children's surgery center will house four operating rooms.

UnitedHealth Group Q3 revenues hit $46.3B
UnitedHealth Group reported its third quarter results, with revenues of $46.3 billion. UnitedHealth Group's third quarter earnings from operations increased 19 percent year-over-year to $3.6 billion. The adjusted net earnings hit $2.17 per share, up 23 percent.

Healthcare data breaches increasing in latter half of 2016; 118 cases in Q3
The Protenus Breach Barometer report found the first six months of the year saw 25.3 breaches per month, whereas the second half has experienced 39.3 breaches per month. HSS reported 37 breaches involving 246,876 impacted patient records in September. Of the healthcare data breaches in September, 92 percent involved healthcare providers. Only two cases involved health plans.

Anthem, Cigna required to disclose accusatory emails
On Oct. 14, a judge ordered Anthem and Cigna to release emails between the two companies accusing each other of breaching the potential merger agreement. Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson agreed with the federal mediator that the emails were not privileged communication and should be public. The insurers are required to release 12 whole documents and emails, and 13 excerpts from other communications.

Infection control market to total $17.8B by 2021
The market is expected to hit $17.78 by 2021, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 6.5 percent. Factors spurring market growth include growing incidence of hospital-acquired infections, more surgical procedures, increased awareness about the need of food sterilization as well as awareness about disinfection.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals increases drug price by 2,700%+ in 1 year
Valeant Pharmaceuticals increased the price of its Calcium EDTA, a drug to treat lead poisoning, by more than 2,700 percent in one year. Prior to Valeant acquiring the drug in 2013, the drug carried a list price of $950. However, in January 2014, Valeant increased the drug's price to $7,116.

Saratoga Schenectady Endoscopy Center to use $16.3M construction loan to expand to 10 procedure rooms
Ballston, N.Y.-based Saratoga Schenectady Endoscopy Center secured a $16.3 million loan from KeyBank. The surgery center's providers are performing between 800 and 900 colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures monthly. Based on this influx of cases, the center needed to expand its facility from four procedure rooms to 10 rooms. The new facility is slated to open in summer 2017.

HRSA offers $16M grant to enhance rural healthcare
HHS' Health Resources & Services Administration jumpstarted a $16 million grant program intended to enhance telehealth and quality improvement efforts in rural healthcare facilities. Specifically the program will support healthcare for veterans.

Arkansas Urology to build $6M outpatient center
Arkansas Urology is going to begin work on a new outpatient surgery center in Little Rock, Ark. The center will offer all outpatient procedures Arkansas Urology currently performs, and it will add several new procedures to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, overactive bladder and prostate cancer.

Mylan won't have to pay CMS higher rates for 6 months, Medicaid to lose unknown amount
After Mylan settled a case where it was accused of purposefully misclassifying its EpiPens to overcharge Medicaid, it is being allowed a six month grace period to continue paying the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services its current, wrongly-classified rate. The grace period will cost Medicaid an unknown amount. Neither Mylan nor the federal government is elaborating on the terms of the grace period deal.

AmSurg, Envision Healthcare propose combined company's board of directors
Following news of AmSurg's merger with Envision Healthcare, the two companies announced they proposed members for the combined company's board of directors. Envision proposed William A. Sanger, Carol J. Burt, Leonard M. Riggs, MD, Richard J. Schnall, James D. Shelton, Michael L. Smith and Ronald A. Williams to the combined company's board. AmSurg proposed Christopher A. Holden, James A. Deal, John T. Gawaluck, Steven I. Geringer, Joey A. Jacobs, Kevin P. Lavender and Cynthia S. Miller to the new board of directors.

Outpatient surgeries up 4.2M procedures in 20 years
A Healthcare Dive report stated the number of hospital admissions rates fell from 118 admissions per 1,000 visits to 103.7 admissions per 1,000 visits from 1994 to 2014. Comparatively, there were 383 million outpatient visits in 1994. In 2014, that number increased to more than 693 million outpatient visits. Providers performed 13.2 million outpatient procedures in 1994, with that number reaching 17.4 million outpatient procedures in 2014.

Shriners Hospital for Children Medical Center's opens $77M outpatient facility
Los Angeles-based Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center is building an outpatient center, equipped with an ambulatory surgery center, to meet growing demand for surgical services in Pasadena, Calif. The facility costs $77 million and is a specialty pediatric center.

Yale New Haven Health completes 100k-sq-ft medical center, equipped with ASC
Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health completed its Park Avenue Medical Center in Trumbull, Conn. The 100,000-square-foot facility houses an ambulatory surgery endoscopy center. Park Avenue Medical Center will also provide outpatient cancer services, radiology and laboratory services, rehabilitation medicine as well as primary care and specialty physician practices.

Anthem, Cigna may be forced to release 'hostile' letters over $48B deal
A court official supported the Department of Justice's request for Anthem and Cigna to release documents that show the companies fighting over their merger agreement. The officials and DOJ claim the documents would show Cigna and Anthem pointing the finger at each other for violating the terms of their merger agreement. However, the payers claim they should not release the documents as they are "privileged communications."

Arkansas Urology to build $6M outpatient center
Arkansas Urology is going to begin work on a new outpatient surgery center in Little Rock, Ark. The center will offer all outpatient procedures Arkansas Urology currently performs, and it will add several new procedures to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, overactive bladder and prostate cancer.

Level EX launches virtual surgery mobile app for physicians
The technology startup Level EX has launched a virtual surgery mobile app, called Airway EX, which the company hopes physicians will use to practice their surgical skills. The company says Airway EX provides a realistic environment for physicians to hone their skills in minimally invasive surgical procedures.

FDA requiring direct-acting antiviral manufacturers to put 'black box' warnings on labels
The FDA is requiring manufacturers to put 'black box' warnings on labels of direct-acting antiviral prescriptions because of the possibility that the drugs cause the hepatitis B virus to resurface. The FDA has received 24 reports of HBV reactivating between Nov. 22, 2013 to July 18, 2016. After starting therapy with the drugs, physicians reported reactivations four to eight weeks later.

UnitedHealth faces lawsuit over prescription drug co-payments
Three customers are suing UnitedHealth for allegedly charging prescription drug co-payments that exceed their actual costs. The plaintiffs aim to represent a nationwide class that may comprise tens of thousands of UnitedHealth customers. In the suit, the three customers say UnitedHealth pocketed the difference between the co-payments and the drugs' actual cost.

Surgery Partners adds Dr. Teresa DeLuca to board of directors
Surgery Partners named Teresa DeLuca, MD, to its board of directors. She is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York City. In addition to her board role, Dr. DeLuca will serve on Surgery Partners' audit committee.

AmSurg's Sheridan continues to expand in California through Fidere Anesthesia Consultants acquisition
Sheridan, AmSurg's physician services division, acquired California-based Fidere Anesthesia Consultants. Fidere Anesthesia Consultants has 38 physicians spanning seven facilities that provide both inpatient and outpatient anesthesia services.

Nation's 'most successful' co-op Baltimore's Evergreen Health to be acquired and turned for-profit
A group of private investors are going to acquire and convert Baltimore-based Evergreen Health and convert it into a for-profit insurance company. The co-op needed the deal to remain in business. Evergreen had reported a profit in the past, but insurance rules requiring it to make a $24 million risk-adjustment payment was its downfall.

Tenet to settle kickback allegations with $514M to government, Georgia & South Carolina
Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare will pay the federal government, Georgia and South Carolina $514 million to settle kickback allegations. The allegations involve Tenet hospitals paying kickbacks for obstetric referrals in Georgia and South Carolina. Tenet plans to pay the $514 million with cash and its revolving credit facility.

Boston Scientific buying EndoChoice for $210M
Georgia-based EndoChoice will be purchased by Boston Scientific after the device company agreed to pay $210 million. It's expected the deal will close in the fourth quarter. EndoChoice will then become part of Boston Scientific's endoscopy business.

Aetna & Apple team up to offer smartwatch
Aetna will now offer customers and employees discounts on Apple's smartwatch, which Apple hopes will increase sales. Aetna is creating apps for Apple devices to help users refill prescriptions, connect with physicians and remember to take their medications. The companies plan to launch the applications next year. An Aetna spokesperson said employers that contract with Aetna can decide if their employees get an Apple watch at no cost. While Aetna employees can get a watch for free, the spokesperson did not give an estimate of how many non-Aetna employees may get the watch.

TriHealth to open multispecialty surgery center
Cincinnati-based TriHealth is building a new outpatient surgery center in Anderson Township, Ohio. The surgery center is 73,000 square feet and will offer general surgery; endoscopy; orthopedics; hand surgery; ear, nose and throat; facial plastics; as well as podiatry and vein surgeries.

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