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SECTION 179 = SENSE OF URGENCY!

It’s Not Too Late … But It’s Time to Hustle

Bet you’re like most everyone … as the Holiday Season approaches, we all tend to say, “Where did the year go?” More central to this article is “Where did the 2017 Tax Year Go?

And that brings us to the topic at hand, your potential to save big-time on your 2017 tax bill. That prospect is the significant tax advantages of the Section 179 deduction … but only if you act by December 31, 2017.

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Ransomware & Identity Theft Update

The Exposure & Defenses for ASCs and Employees

Back in August, we reported in the Auxo Medical Examiner of the increasing victimization of health care facilities by hackers who disable access to key patient and status records until ransom demands are met. In addition to patients, employees often suffer as well because of a workplace breach of their confidential information.

In recent days, we’ve all seen the recent headlines of a data breach that literally may affect 50% of Americans.

Giant Equifax data breach: 143 million people could be affected

Equifax says a giant cybersecurity breach compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans — almost half the U.S population.

Given the snowballing ransomware cyberattacks of ASCs and other health care facilities, coupled with escalating identity theft initiated by hackers for illicit use or sale to other thieves … this issue will deal with two specific data breach exposures:

  • The burgeoning interconnectivity of medical devices, and
  • Protection against theft of employee records.
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Millennials in Healthcare

Healthcare Employers and Managers

The times are changing  –  and healthcare managers need to get with the times.

How would you like to have employees who:

  • Crave meaningful work and passionate about helping others;
  • Seek and respond well to constructive feedback;
  • Embrace training and mentoring to advance their careers; and
  • Creatively apply technology in the workplace?

If your answer is “yes”, you have just accepted the profile of the single largest segment of the workforce – Millennials. What’s not to like?!

This generation has now surpassed the Boomers and projected to be fully half of the U.S. workforce by 2020. Also known as Gen Y, this generation born between 1980 and 2000 will escalate to 75% status by 2030.

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ASCs and Hospitals

ASCs and Hospitals

Of Ransomware, Hackers, FTC and HIPAA

You’ve seen it … you’ve heard it … you couldn’t miss it!

Health care facilities have been victimized by hackers who steal patient identities and increasingly disable access to key patient treatment and status records until ransom demands are met. Additionally, employees may suffer because of a workplace breach of their confidential information.

Traditional technology networks are generally vulnerable and lucrative to attack. ASCs as well as small to medium-size hospitals are marked as primary targets for breaches because their security infrastructure is often lacking. That underscores a July 2016 report that revealed that the healthcare industry is hit significantly harder by ransomware hackers than any other sector … to the tune of 88% of attacks targeted hospitals.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what are current threats as well as those to be anticipated based on advances in medical technology. Additionally, we’ll review technical safeguards under HIPAA regulations and employer responsibilities as viewed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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Merger and Acquisition

ASCs Merger and Acquisition

ASCs at Center of This Major Trend – 5 Major Drivers

ASCs merger and acquisition activity continues its decade long growth trend. Industry experts anticipate the outlook for 2017 and beyond will likely maintain or exceed that momentum.

There are 5 major drivers that fuel this buying spree to consolidate and deliver patient care in non-hospital settings.

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OSHA Audits And Your Asc: What to Expect, How to Prepare, Help From the Auditors

Osha AuditsIn last month’s issue of the The AuxoMedical Examiner we addressed Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace safety rules and safety programs. In that article it was noted that: More workers are injured in the healthcare and social assistance industry sector than any other private industry sector.

That said, it follows that healthcare providers, including ASCs, are likely to be the object of scrutiny by OSHA. As an operating entity in a high risk industry sector, it is quite possible that your ASC will be scheduled for an OSHA inspection (audit) to assure compliance with OSHA requirements.

But put that in context. OSHAs objective is not to be punitive. Rather it seeks to help employers and workers reduce on-the-job hazards to prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths.

Let’s take a look at what you may expect when the OSHA compliance safety and health officer (CO) shows up on your doorstep, typically without advance notice. Following that, we’ll look at how you may best position your ASC to not be a target for an OSHA inspection and the payoffs for being proactive.

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ASC & OSHA: Workplace Safety, OSHA Rules and Safety Programs

More workers are injured in the healthcare and social assistance industry sector than any other private industry sector.

ASCSo says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). One study put the incidence rate for work related nonfatal injuries and illnesses in health care and social assistance at nearly 40% higher than that experienced in all private industry.

Healthcare is the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing over 18 million workers. Health care workers face a wide range of hazards on the job, including sharps injuries, harmful exposures to chemicals and hazardous drugs, back injuries, latex allergy, violence, and stress. Although it is possible to prevent or reduce healthcare worker exposure to these hazards, healthcare workers continue to experience injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

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7 Procedures Removed From IPO List – Total Knee Arthroplasty Only Receives “Honorable Mention”

 Annually, using established criteria, the CMS reviews the “inpatient only” (IPO) list to determine which, if any, procedures are to be removed. In a previous newsletter, we mentioned how Total Knee Arthroplasty may be removed from the Medicare Inpatient Only list. The winners for CY 2017 are five spine procedures along with two laryngoplasty procedures. Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) procedures did not make the final cut.

Total Knee Arthroplasty

Illustration of a Total Knee Arthroplasty procedure

The CY 2017 OPPS/ASC final rule discussed comments it received regarding the removal of (TKA) from the IPO list. Despite the overwhelming support for its removal, the CMS did not propose making an immediate change, but “will consider all of these comments in future policy making.”

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COPN – THE BIG PICTURE

Plus Virginia Reform Efforts

Certificate of Public Need (COPN) programs are a fact of life in 36 states (Virginia included) as well as the District of Columbia. These laws require government consent before a health care facility may expand, offer a new service or purchase certain medical devices.

The Case for Certificate of Need Laws

The initial intent of COPN programs was to contain health care facility costs through coordinated government/private enterprise planning of facility construction and added services. The assumption was to limit facilities to provide only enough capacity to meet actual need or demand in a given geographical area. Presumably, that would avoid price increases by health care accommodations that were struggling to meet overhead not funded by sufficient patient loads.

copn

Source: NCSL, August 2016

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The FDA’s Powdered Glove Ban – How Does it Affect You?

The ban is effective January 18, 2017

Powdered gloves are no longer FDA approved as of January 18th, 2017.Here’s a reminder of the recent ban of powdered gloves by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Compliance is mandatory in less than a week.

Bottom-Line

In its announcement last month, the FDA formally banned two types of powdered gloves and a glove lubricant. These medical devices can no longer be legally marketed or used effective January 18, 2017. That prohibition applies to devices already in commercial distribution and those sold to the end user.

Specifically, the ban applies to powdered patient examination gloves, powdered surgeon’s gloves and absorbable powder used to lubricate surgeon’s gloves. The glove types include all of these gloves, regardless of the material from which they are made – including NRL and synthetic latex gloves.

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