Whitepaper: If It Ain't Broke, Fix It
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It’s a great time to run an ambulatory surgery center. The migration of surgical services from hospitals and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) to ASCs continues. Commercial payers, recognizing the clinical and financial value of ASCs, are increasingly looking to steer cases to centers. The pandemic has further motivated patients to avoid acute care settings, making ASCs an even more appealing site for surgery.
Surgery centers looking to capitalize on all this momentum and prepare your ASC for 2023 can consider and pursue various strategies to help you achieve short- and long-term growth. In this two-part blog post series, we are providing you with nine strategies we see ASCs increasingly pursue and successfully execute. For this first part, here are four strategies your ASC might consider.
Thanks to advances in clinical equipment, surgical skills, and anesthesia, more procedures and procedure types are being safely performed in ASCs than ever before. Surgery centers are engaging in conversations with their existing surgeons about the procedures they are performing at a hospital, whether those procedures can be safely moved to the ASC, and what, if anything (e.g., equipment and devices) is required to migrate those procedures. Adding procedures, assuming the reimbursement generates a reasonable profit, can be an easy way to fuel growth.
Adding surgeons adds case volume, and we’ve already talked about the value of growing your number of procedures. While the competition for surgeons is high, ASCs remain a very attractive site for surgeons. Surgery centers successfully adding surgeons to their clinical staff are doing so by leveraging a variety of tactics, including offering ownership shares at a reasonable buy-in price, offering desirable block time, adding the clinical equipment these surgeons are looking to use for their cases, and bringing on board a new surgeon’s preferred clinical staff.
Adding a specialty usually isn’t easy, but the payoff can be significant. ASCs will need to verify that they have an adequate number of surgeons planning to bring an adequate number of procedures to support the specialty and the investments required to add it (e.g., clinical equipment and staff). When the numbers work, the addition of a specialty is bringing ASCs a big boost to the bottom line while opening new avenues for engagement with payers, surgeons, and patient populations.
When was the last time you spoke with your commercial payers about a raise? ASCs are finding that engaging in regular discussions with their existing payers about potential increases in payments for current procedures and coverage of new procedures often leads to meaningful increases in reimbursement rates. Payers are increasingly more eager to contract with ASCs because of the cost savings achieved over contracting with hospitals for the same procedures and equal, if not better, outcomes. If an ASC can demonstrate it provides high-quality care leading to good outcomes with low rates of infection and readmissions, it will be in a strong position to request increases in reimbursement. ASCs may also have a better opportunity to engage in discussions around moving toward value-based contracts.
Stay tuned for part II where we share five more strategies your ASC can consider for growth in 2023. Among them: optimizing staffing, spending smarter, and improving how you communicate with stakeholders.
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