At the 20th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 25, Robert Zasa, managing partner and founder of ASD Management, and Tom Mallon, CEO of Regent Surgical Health, shared four new ways ASCs can reorganize for future success.
First, Mr. Mallon shared some tried and true ways ASCs can change for success, including cost analysis and managing resource costs, recruiting additional physicians and closely managing revenue cycle.
Then, the two presenters jumped into new methods for ASCs to reorganize for success:
1. Joint venture with hospitals. Forming a joint venture with a hospital can lead to higher payments per case, and the model can help ASCs prepare for accountable care organizations and other value-based models that come along with healthcare reform, Mr. Zasa explained.
ASC-hospital joint ventures tend to work in a market that is over-saturated with ASCs. "In an oversaturated market, you need to be affiliated," Mr. Zasa said. The model also works well for ASCs that have matured and do not see a large increase in profits coming in the future.
Joint ventures with hospitals tend not to work when the hospital partner lacks presence in the market. "That's a big negative," he said.
2. Contract analysis. ASCs should review the terms in the contract language to make sure the organization is getting the best deal. Mr. Zasa also recommended ensuring the ASC gets a volume discount. "We're doing audits routinely with a software system to make sure we're getting the right price for the right volume," he said.
3. Technology and process automation. There are several business aspects of ASCs that can be automated and made more efficient through the use of technology. Mr. Mallon said the following three are ripe for automation:
• Insurance verification. "Instead of getting someone to sit on the phone, you can get insurance verification checked quickly" with software, he said. "That's almost one FTE you can take out of the business office."
• Patient self-registration. Patients can register themselves for their appointment online. This tracks the patient's answers and can prevent them from being asked the same question three or four times, Mr. Mallon explained.
• Materials management. Using technology to order supplies electronically and track contract compliance to commitment letters can help ASCs get the right price every time.
4. Revenue cycle automation. Several aspects of ASC revenue cycles can be automated for efficiency and cost savings. For instance, payment posting, patient follow-ups and insurance follow-ups are great candidates to be automated, Mr. Mallon said.
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