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ASCs face reimbursement hurdles amid single-payer healthcare push

ASCs have long faced challenges in securing reimbursements, but successful ASCs are focused on payer contracting strategy. 

Allison Stock, BSN, RN, administrator of Lenox Surgery Center in Lenox Township, Mich., joined Becker's to discuss the biggest challenges facing ASCs. 

Editor's note: This interview was edited lightly for clarity and length. 

Question: What is the biggest obstacle you're facing in your day-to-day, and how are you addressing it?

Allison Stock: Reimbursement is a huge issue that ASCs keep facing. As we see the push for single-payer healthcare, it's getting harder and harder to negotiate good rates with insurance companies. It is extremely important to be aware of what your payer contracts are and if they are covering your costs of procedures in your ASC. The never-ending shortage of drugs and supplies is a huge problem that all ASCs are facing. It is taking creativity and collaboration to get through this difficult time. You must think outside of the box to find alternatives to items that have become staples in your ASC. Having good relationships with your vendors and other ASCs and health systems in your area to share and acquire items is essential.

Q: What is drawing patients to ASCs over hospitals right now?

AS: Patients are becoming much more insurance savvy. Patients' deductibles keep climbing, and they are looking for the best low-cost care. I believe patients are seeking out ASCs over hospitals because they recognize the more personalized and efficient care that they receive in the ASC setting. When the pandemic hit, patients were afraid to go to the hospital because of fear of the virus. The pandemic helped push even more patients to the ASC space, and now they don't want to return to the hospital unless necessary.

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