30 things for ASC leaders to know for December

Here are 30 updates for ASC leaders to note from the month of December.

Shriners Hospitals for Children prepares for relocation plans featuring 2 ASCs
Los Angeles-based Shriners Hospitals for Children will participate in the Rose Parade on Jan. 2, 2017, as the hospital prepares for its new Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena, Calif. The new location will include two ASCs, 20 outpatient clinic examination rooms and three fitting rooms for prosthetics and orthotics.

Aetna-Humana, DOJ attorneys stand behind arguments as antitrust trial wraps up
The antitrust trial over the proposed Aetna and Humana deal is coming to a close, with both parties' attorneys reaffirming their claims for and against the deal.

171k clinicians face Medicare penalties in 2017
CMS will penalize several clinicians in 2017 for not complying with meaningful use requirements demonstrating EHR use in 2015. The agency reported 171,000 physicians, nurse practitioners and other clinicians face a 3 percent pay cut from Medicare because they didn't meet MU requirements in 2015.

3 senior Olympus executives utilized their right to invoke the Fifth Amendment during questioning over internal company emails
In July 2016, news broke over Olympus' internal emails revealing the company told U.S. executives not to issue a broad warning to hospitals regarding a deadly infection from tainted scopes that was later linked to numerous deaths at major hospitals. The executives employed their Fifth Amendment right during depositions on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2016, during a civil case against Olympus.

Northwell Health completes 7th ASC JV; Acquires 70% stake in Suffolk Surgery Center
Great Neck, N.Y.-based Northwell Health purchased a majority stake in Shirley, N.Y.-based Suffolk Surgery Center, marking the health system's seventh joint venture of this kind. The ASC's nine physician owners maintain a 30 percent share in the center and Northwell Health bought a 70 percent stake.

CMS creates new Medicare-Medicaid ACO model
CMS created a Medicare-Medicaid ACO model to improve the quality of care and lower costs to the programs' beneficiaries. The model mirrors the Medicare Shared Savings Program, and advances efforts to collaborate with states to "transform" healthcare delivery systems.

SCA partners with The Surgery Center at Doral
Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates entered into a partnership with The Surgery Center at Doral (Fla.). The Surgery Center at Doral includes 10 physicians focused on orthopedics, podiatry, spine, pain management and general surgery.

Nobilis Health voluntarily delists from Toronto Stock Exchange
Houston-based Nobilis Health is voluntarily delisting from the Toronto Stock Exchange. Nobilis will delist its shares at the close of the markets on Dec. 30, 2016. The TSX delisting will not impact Nobilis' listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tenet Healthcare pens deal with Centene, renews contract with UnitedHealth
Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare signed a deal with Centene as well as renewed and extended its contract with UnitedHealth Group. Tenet's deal with Centene allows Centene members access to Tenet's ASCs, hospitals and employed physicians in 18 states. UnitedHealth Group commercial and Medicare Advantage members have access to Tenet's hospitals, ASCs and employed physicians.

Physicians Endoscopy acquires majority ownership in ACCESS Surgery Center
Jamison, Pa.-based Physicians Endoscopy is joint venturing with ACCESS Surgery Center physicians to acquire a majority stake in the ASC in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. Through the partnership, ACCESS Surgery Center is PE's 42nd ASC and fifth partnership in New Jersey.

Parkview Medical Center unveils multimillion-dollar expansion plans featuring surgery center
Pueblo, Colo.-based Parkview Medical Center is planning a multimillion-dollar expansion which includes building a surgery center. The nonprofit hospital also plans to double the size of its emergency room and build an employee parking lot.

ACA enrollment surges to 6.4M
Despite news swirling about an ACA repeal, nearly 6.4 million Americans purchased coverage under the ACA. This year, 400,000 more Americans bought coverage, compared to 2015.

ACA premium subsidies to total $42.6B next year, up $9.8B
A Center for Health and Economy analysis found premiums may reach double-digits in 2017. The study estimated premium subsidies under the ACA will increase by $9.8 billion, increasing from $32.8 billion in 2016 to $42.6 billion next year.

Physicians Surgery Center in Tennessee to add 14k square feet
Jackson-based West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic partnered with Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Physicians Surgery Center to expand the ASC. The expansion will add 14,000 square feet to the facility, creating a 25,000-square-foot, dual-use facility when the project is complete.

Mayo Clinic shows overlapping surgeries can work at a high volume referral center
A new study published in the Annals of Surgery examines overlapping surgeries at a high volume referral center. The researchers examined overlapping surgeries at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Envision Healthcare's physician services division acquires Alabama Neonatal Medicine
Greenwood, Colo.-based Envision Healthcare's physician services division acquired Alabama Neonatal Medicine in Montgomery. The deal will compliment Envision's current neonatal programs throughout the state in Huntsville, Mobile and Dothan.

President-elect Donald Trump picks Seema Verma to serve as CMS administrator & Dr. Tom Price to lead HHS
President-elect Donald Trump selected Seema Verma to head CMS as administrator and Rep. Tom Price, MD, (R-Ga.), to lead the HHS. Pending Senate confirmation, Dr. Price will be the second physician to lead HHS, following Louis Sullivan, MD, during the George H. W. Bush administration. An Indiana resident, Ms. Verma played an active role in vice president-elect Mike Pence's ACA Medicaid expansion model, Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0.

AMA endorses Dr. Tom Price's HHS secretary nomination, not all physicians agree
The American Medical Association endorsed President-elect Donald Trump's appointment of Tom Price, MD, as the new HHS Secretary, but not all physicians share that enthusiasm. STAT reports the AMA received several "furious tweets" on Twitter in response to the endorsement and 3,600-plus physicians signed an open letter published online titled "The AMA Does Not Speak For Us." The Clinician Action Network wrote in the letter.

The Joint Commission to lengthen ASC surveys, add survey team members in 2017
The Joint Commission will make changes to the Medicare-deemed ASC surveyor process for 2017. The accreditation body will update its guidelines to align with the CMS surveyor guidelines by lengthening the survey and adding members to the accreditation team.

ASCA applauds President Obama signing 21st Century Cures Act
President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, with the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association applauding the decision to pass the law that features two provisions impacting ASCs. Under the first provision, Section 4012, HHS will create a website allowing Medicare beneficiaries to compare their out-of-pocket costs and expenses for different procedures in ASCs and hospital outpatient departments. Section 16003, the second provision, provides protection for those physicians practicing in ASCs from possible penalties linked to the Medicare meaningful use program.

Global ASC market to grow at 4.4% CAGR to 2020
A Technavio report found a rise in minimally invasive surgery cases is driving the ASC market. The global ASC market could grow at a 4.36 percent compound annual growth rate through 2020.

Frontier Healthcare opens new multispecialty ASC in the Bronx
New York-based Frontier Healthcare partnered with ASMC physician group to open a new ASC in New York City. The multispecialty ASC opened on Dec. 5, 2016, with specialties including gastroenterology, orthopedics and pain management.

VA final rule allows APRNs to practice without clinical supervision; excludes CRNAs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a final rule that grants three types of advanced practice registered nurses full practice authority. The rule applies to certified nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse-midwives. However, the VA did not include certified registered nurse anesthetists in this list.

Premier ranks 1st in healthcare management consulting report
Charlotte, N.C.-based Premier, a healthcare improvement company, ranked as the top organization in KLAS' "2016 Healthcare Management Consulting" report.

PhyMed names Dr. Sam Nussbaum to board
PhyMed Healthcare Group appointed endocrinologist Sam Nussbaum, MD, to its board. Dr. Nussbaum has extensive experience in population health, quality, health outcomes, care management, data analytics, provider contracting as well as medical and pharmacy policy.

UnitedHealth Group to offer bundled payments for hip, knee & spine
UnitedHealth Group will participate in bundled payments for spine surgeries as well as hip and knee replacements in 2017. UnitedHealth Group plans to offer these bundled payments in more than 40 markets by the end of 2017.

Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act
Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which aims to promote biomedical research, but may also impose less stringent reporting requirements concerning industry payments to physicians. The 966-page bill features provisions that would lessen various requirements imposed under the 2010 Physician Payments Sunshine Act.

Statin drugs may improve surgical outcomes
UC San Francisco researchers found statins may yield better patient outcomes. Among patients exposed to stains, researchers noted a significant reduction in 30-day all cause mortality.

Baylor University taps Dr. Hashem El-Serag to be chief of medicine
Waco, Texas-based Baylor University selected Hashem El-Serag, MD, to be the next chair of its college of medicine. Dr. El-Serag is a professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor.

Anesthesiology Consultants, US Anesthesia Partners partner for anesthesia care in Las Vegas
Las Vegas-based Anesthesiology Consultants entered into a partnership with Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based U.S. Anesthesia Partners. Anesthesiology Consultants is an independent anesthesiology practice in Las Vegas.

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