Q: What are the top three issues facing the ASC community this year?
A: As the country continues to recover from the pandemic caused by COVID-19, ASCs are in a position to keep distinguishing themselves as the lower-cost, high-quality theater of choice for ambulatory surgical services. The goal of the ASC is to continue to deliver that message to the surgeons who utilize the hospitals for outpatient surgical cases that are appropriate for ASCs and educate them on the value of ASCs. Additionally, ASCs should share the stories of cost savings, high patient satisfaction, low infections rates and the convenience for patients and other stakeholders. Too often, payers overlook the importance of appropriate reimbursement for services provided to their insured patients, causing anxieties when ASCs wrestle with performing cases that have higher costs to perform respective to their reimbursement. ASCs must keep engaging payers for payments that allow them to continue with their mission to provide high-quality care to their patients daily.
Healthcare remains a major talking point for both political parties, and the decisions they make will have a direct impact on our reimbursement and approach to how care is offered, rendered and perceived. ASCs need to be engaged in activism to voice their value to their congressional leaders and to stand up for our industry, because we offer a great value to the patients who we serve each and every day.
ASCs may need to consider making changes to their business planning to capture more specialties to their facilities. As patients begin to see the benefits of ASCs, ASCs will need to reinvent themselves to serve the needs of the patients they serve. They will need to reconsider specialties that they were reluctant to consider before to remain viable, expand their business footprint and become more of a centralized place for care. If patients have a great surgical experience at your ASC for an orthopedic procedure, they will most likely return if the ASC performs cataract surgeries. Smart expansion can yield a positive return, but you need to do your homework.