When it comes to opening or developing a new ASC, there are scores of things to consider. We provide five dos and don’ts for opening or developing a new ASC including trends that impact efficiency and success.
Stephanie Martin, VP of operations, believes the shift toward hospital-physician ASC partnerships is driven by the industry’s challenging reimbursement and regulatory environment.
With ASCs, a hospital partner can help negotiate better managed care rates than they could secure on their own. “It can be a symbiotic relationship for the hospital and the surgery center,” she explains. “Hospitals are seeing the need to leverage another site of service for patients that don’t need a high level of acute care. This alleviates their schedule. As a result, more complex cases can get their care more quickly and efficiently. In addition, ASC patients get their needs met more quickly, without the potential of being bumped for something more critical. That’s a win-win for everybody.”
Adding an ASC management organization to the mix brings additional expertise in running the partnership more efficiently, and cost effectively. “Part of ensuring a successful partnership is understanding what the hospital needs in an ASC partner, what their goals are and what they’re trying to achieve,” says Martin. “Making sure that the mission, vision, and values mesh with Regent’s values to help them accomplish their ASC goals. It’s a partnership, like a marriage. You want to ensure you’re all on the same page about what you’re hoping to achieve.”
In addition to suggesting new ASCs seek hospital-physician partnerships, Martin outlines 4 additional dos and don’ts for success:
DO: Pin Down Volume Commitments
To avoid profitability disappointments, Martin says it is more critical today than ever before to get firm volume commitments from your new ASC’s potential physician partners. “We need to understand whether that case volume is being done today and where. Then have them commit to bringing those cases to the ASC,” she says. “We ask is these cases appropriate for an ASC environment or more appropriate for the hospital? If the physician is still working inside the hospital, how comfortable are they moving to the ACS environment? And how do we help them make that transition?’”
DON’T: Rely on a Single Specialty
Martin says that while hospitals may see competition in the market for one particular specialty, the best answer may not be to create a single-specialty ASC.
“I think a single-specialty ASC is still doable,” Martin says, “but it’s a riskier and more volatile approach. I think we’ll continue to see some procedures that Medicare will say should be done in the office, and if your work is based on that particular specialty, that creates a significant hurdle to overcome. As a multi-specialty ASC you spread that risk. You’re more able to adapt and roll with the punches.”
DO: Drive Evidence-Based Decisions from Quality Reports
Quality reporting and evidence-based data are increasingly important for surgery centers. “In the past, while we collected the data frequently, we didn’t do enough with it,” she says. “As quality programs increase and improve, ASCs are doing more data reporting, analyzing the data, and making adjustments as needed. If ASCs do that well, they’ve got evidence that they can share with patients and physicians and managed care companies. By doing so, we’re not just saying we deliver great care, we’ve got the data to prove it.”
DON’T: Overspend on EMR Technology
While recent trends have seen hospitals jumping on the EMR bandwagon, Martin doesn’t believe EMRs are at the point yet where they deliver an ROI that makes sense in the ASC environment. “Technology can wonderful things, but we need to be smart about implementation in surgery centers,” she says. “We need to capture data and information but do it in a way that is so efficient that it doesn’t impede what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s very difficult when you’re doing multi-specialty to get an EMR system that’s great for each specialty, especially orthopedics or spine where they’re putting in a lot of implants and using a lot of equipment. To have data-driven and metrics-driven results, we need to harness the technology that makes sense. Case costing, turnover time, hours per case are the things that ASCs need to be able to manage to thrive.”
For more information on the five dos and don’ts for opening or developing a new ASC, contact Thomas Crossen at firstname.lastname@example.org.