Best Ideas & Biggest Threats to Ambulatory Surgery Centers Today
The panel included CEO of Ambulatory Surgical Centers of America Luke Lambert, President of Pinnacle III Robert Carrera, CEO of ASCA William M. Prentice, JD, and COO of ASCOA Susan Kizirian. The panel members discussed the potential impact of the upcoming election on ASCs, the biggest challenges to owning and operating ASCs today and where the industry is headed in the future.
While none of the panel members ventured to predict whether President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney would win in November, they thought healthcare reform would likely proceed with implementation in the foreseeable future. As Mr. Carrera pointed out, even if Gov. Romney wins the election, he would need 60 members of the Senate voting to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which has already begun the first phase of implementation.
The panel members discussed the flaws of PPACA and what to expect in the future. For example, hospitals and hospital outpatient departments continue to receive higher reimbursement than ASCs for the same procedures; as a result, hospitals are purchasing ASCs and converting them into HOPDs, thus raising the cost of care. MedPAC has advised that HOPDs and ASCs receive a similar reimbursement rate, but no action has been taken on this recommendation yet.
Mr. Prentice discussed ASCA's efforts to work with legislators in Washington, DC, on beneficial legislation for the ASC industry. He hopes to see a more unified front to lobby on behalf of all ASCs for legislation, coupled with the clear advantage ASCs have as the low-cost, high quality provider in many markets, will lead to better rates in the future.
The panel also discussed healthcare information technology and the impact it has on owning and operating ASCs. While implementing electronic health records and other software platforms is expensive, it could have advantages in the future for the ASC. Ms. Kizirian talked about the great leaps EHRs have made over the past few years and where she would still like to see improvement: in the area of organizing and analyzing quality and outcomes data.
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