Successful ASC Growth Strategies: 8 Keys to Surgeon RecruitmentAt the 19th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 27, 2012, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Business Development at Blue Chip Surgical Center Partners Chris Bishop and Business Development Manger Amanda Kane discussed the best ways for ASCs to develop a great ASC growth strategy.
With their gastroenterology centers in particular, Blue Chip has found success with direct to consumer initiatives to drive more patients into the ASCs. "They still invest a lot of time in their office, so we have taken a cost-effective approach to direct mail postcards," says Mr. Bishop. "What we've tried to do is allow the patient to contact the center directly and as opposed to scheduling them six weeks out, we can schedule them into the physician's operative time. There is a reasonable return on investment there."
Mr. Bishop also discussed direct to patient marketing for bariatric procedures. One Blue Chip center invested $50,000 per month in direct to patient marketing and the campaign generated around $350,000 in revenue from patients.
"It's a marketing investment, but this is something that as the growth in healthcare occurs you can think about," said Mr. Bishop.
New technology and surgical techniques allow for more complex procedures to move from the outpatient hospital setting to the ASC. This is particularly true for orthopedics and spine cases, where new anesthesia technology, surgical instrumentation and minimally invasive techniques make it possible to perform spinal fusions and total joint replacements in the ASC.
"They should start with small procedures and become clinically comfortable in the surgery center setting," says Mr. Bishop. "Consider 23-hour stays for these patients at the ASC. If that is something that is available to you, discuss what types of cases that your surgeons are leaving in the hospital overnight that could be done in the ASC."
Bringing these cases into the surgery center can significantly reduce room turnover times. If the surgery center can't do 23-hour stays, you can discharge patients to a recovery center. If none of your surgeons are comfortable bringing these cases into the center, consider bringing on new physician partners.
"Expanding the breadth of cases allows you to grow case volume without recruiting new surgeons," said Ms. Kane. "Check scheduling to see if surgeons are taking ASC-eligible cases to the hospital. You can transition these cases into the surgery center."
Ms. Kane offered eight key concepts to drive same story growth in ASCs:
• Identify eligible ASC cases
• Conduct a market assessment for new surgeons and specialties
• Build physician owner consensus recruitment
• Target surgeons for recruitment
• Engage target surgeons in person
• Detail the financial model for the targeted surgeons, showing where you are now and where you could be if the surgeon joins
• Initiate a 60 day trial period so the surgeon can experience performing cases at the ASC without making a major commitment
• Sign a subscriptive agreement and complete the investment
The 60 day trial period is important for both the new surgeon and existing partners to make sure the arrangement will work. Sometimes the new surgeon won't want to go through with the trial period, but tell him you are protecting the shares of your current partners, as you plan to protect his in the future.
"You want to make sure they are a good team member and can case cost for a surgery center mentality," said Ms. Kane. "In some cases, the physician board will get together and say this isn't a good fit. Other times, the surgeon might not bring many cases in during the trial period, so you can extend that period."
More Articles on Surgery Centers:
4 Commonly Overlooked ASC Benchmarks & How to Benchmark Correctly
5 Core Concepts to Drive Revenue at Ophthalmology ASCs
8 Points of Survival for Surgery Centers After ACOs
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