Best Tips to Manage Implants at ASCs: Q&A With Christian Costlow of Access MediQuip
Senior Vice President, Managed Networks and Business Development at Access MediQuip Christian Costlow discusses the best ideas for ambulatory surgery center administrators to manage implants while keeping costs under control.
Q: What are the best strategies for surgery centers to manage implants in a more cost-effective way?
There are a number of strategies ASCs can use to better manage implant costs. Here are three to consider:
1) Approach vendor contract negotiations the same way you should approach payer contract negotiations. The key here is to be able to match your vendor contracting and payer reimbursement methodology. Connect these dots first. Then educate your vendors on your needs, your reimbursement, so they will better understand and work with you. If necessary and when it makes sense, then have your physicians educated ahead of time to support your facility and your negotiation with vendors.
2) Keep physicians educated on costs and explore options. Establish a process to evaluate physician preference items. Education will be an ongoing effort, and you can better serve your physicians with cost on implants, as well as other options and choices physician could make without forgoing quality. Most new implants are following the 510k approval process for “like” products. Unless there is significant quality comparison data or improved patient outcomes, then consideration of options is a fair conversation to have with your physician partners.
3) Partner with a third-party surgical implant management company. The cash flow of managing implants can be a huge burden on centers. There is the option to outsource the purchasing, billing and contracting for implants to a surgical implant management company. The time of contracting with vendors, billing the payers, collecting from patients and payers can be a strain and distraction on the staff. A third party can alleviate not only the hard cost of the implant itself, but in addition the time to collect and time of staff spent for each part of the function to do vendor contract and collection efforts. Outsourcing makes financial sense. The third party can provide valuable reporting, patient education and assist in education of all physicians on usage in your center.
Q: How can ASC leaders ensure they have the best vendor contracts?
While there's no way to verify whether an ASC has the "best" vendor contracts, there are ways to better ensure contracts that will serve an ASC well. When focusing on implant contracts, ASCs can use the best practices noted earlier: come to the negotiating table prepared with data to support your case; involve physicians in negotiations; and look into partnering with third-party surgical implant management companies that can alleviate ASC leaders' concerns about agreeing to a bad implant contract.
By gathering information and gaining a better understanding of a product or service and the options that are on the market for your ASC, you will put yourself in a stronger position to negotiate a contract that is beneficial for your center and creates a solid partnership with a vendor.
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