REGULATORY REVIEW ASCQC Conference Shows Industry’s Continued

Commitment to Quality Updates focus on public and private quality initiatives BY ALEX TAIRA

On July 22, the Ambula- tory Surgery Center Qual- ity Collaboration (ASCQC) held its sixth annual confer- ence in Washington, DC.

The meeting brought together a wide- ranging group of industry stakeholders, including representatives from facilities, physician groups, management compa- nies, health information technology (IT) vendors, regulatory agencies, specialty societies, and accreditation and qua- lity organizations. The diverse attendee group reflects the industry’s collabora- tive commitment to ensuring high-qual- ity care in ASCs across the country. Perhaps even more importantly, the will- ingness of many attendees to continue attending year after year, coupled with the addition of new stakeholders—2018 was the first ASCQC conference to include vendors—shows an understand- ing that commitment to quality is an ongoing process. By voluntarily con- tinuing to share best practices, discuss areas for improvement, and review ever- expanding quality benchmarks, ASCs can maintain their place as high-quality, low-cost centers for care. Within the full afternoon agenda, presenters provided updates on several federal government quality initiatives in the ASC space. First, Daniel Pollock, MD, surveillance branch chief for the Centers for Disease Control and Pre- vention’s (CDC) Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) presented on the new CDC protocols regard- ing surveillance for surgical site infec- tions (SSI). In January 2019, the CDC issued new guidance for ASCs that moved SSI surveillance under the Out- patient Procedure Component (OPC) of the National Health Safety Network

(NHSN). SSI account for an estimated annual cost of $3.3 billion and 1 million additional inpatient days, according to the CDC. A handful of states—Colo- rado, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Texas—currently require SSI reporting. These states must report data manually via the NHSN web portal, but Pollock mentioned that CDC hopes to move to electronic health record (EHR) upload reporting if health IT contin- ues to expand in the ASC space. More information on the NHSN and SSI sur- veillance can be found at nhsn/ambulatory-surgery.

Missy Danforth, vice president of Health Care Ratings at the Leapfrog Group delivered another notable pre- sentation. Beginning this year, Leap- frog began collecting data for an ASC survey on patient safety and quality, a product that the large employers that support Leapfrog have been asking the group to design. In addition, Leapfrog has added an outpatient component to its well-known long-running survey on patient safety and quality in hos-


pitals. In the hospital product, grades are assigned—“A” to “F”—to facili- ties based on survey results. The new survey, however, is a separate product, and ASCs will not be assigned grades at this time. Any ASC that does choose to respond to the survey in 2019 will not have any of its information made available to the public but will receive a free benchmarking report for its own review. Danforth announced that 2020 is the first year that Leapfrog plans to make survey results publicly avail- able. For more information on the Leapfrog Group’s ASC Survey, turn to page 44 and read a Q&A with ASCA Chief Executive Officer Bill Prentice at prentice-q-and-a.

The Centers for Medicare & Medic- aid Services (CMS) provided an update on the Outpatient and Ambulatory Sur- gery Survey Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (OAS CAHPS) survey. CMS and RTI International, an independent non-profit institute that specializes in research and

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