3 expert ASC management tips

Here are three key ASC management tips garnered from interviews published in Becker's ASC Review:

1. Keep staff motivation high:

"Being transparent with staff and having them be a part of the turnaround process is key. Keeping them informed as much as possible about changes and why they are necessary for improvement help keep staff engaged," said Kathryn Rice, administrator of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Bayfront Health Ambulatory Surgery Center. "They have to see the vision with you. Working side by side with them in the OR helps bring validity. As an administrator, if you can do what you ask of your staff, then they feel supported, and you become a team."

2. Offer incentives to staff:

"Labor is generally driven by market factors. ASCs enjoy a structural advantage over our largest labor competitor, the hospital, as we have 'no call, no nights, no weekends,' unless you are doing 23-hour observations," said Chris Flores, CEO of East Loop Surgery Center in Odessa, Texas. "I work for a large ASC chain that equalizes the benefit costs the hospitals enjoy over independent ASC owners. As we chase the best and brightest, we do so in hopes of not escalating the labor cost for the entire market."

3. Maximize what you have:

"A critical challenge that I’m seeing today is the migration of more complex procedures from acute to ambulatory surgery center settings. While ASC physicians are working hard to make this transition possible, there are still significant barriers to overcome," said Marvella Thomas, senior consultant for clinical operations at Cardinal Health. "Put another way, how can you do more with what you already have? As value-based care continues to drive care to lower cost settings, the opportunity for ASCs will continue to grow. And so will the challenge to handle these more acute cases."

4. Stay up to date on regulations:

"Keep up to date on CMS regulations as well as accreditations, such as AAAHC and the Joint Commission. Take CMS quality reporting participation and its 2 percent reduction in reimbursement if the center opts out seriously," said DeeDee Dalke, former ASC administrator and consultant for surgery center software company Simplify ASC. "When a new CMS quality measure is announced, ASCs should be ready to update their forms to capture the necessary data, or run the risk of losing that 2 percent of reimbursement. The same holds true for infection control measures and 23-hour stay requirements. Discuss these CMS proposal/final rules with your board members. Have a good system in place that will allow you to analyze expenses and reimbursement. Proper case costing and proper reporting of quality measures become even more important in a more complex care environment." See this blog post for more information.

More articles on turnarounds:
Looking back at 2019: Another strong year for ASCs!
How to retain ASC staff: Administrator Lori Tamburo Martini weighs in
A service dispute in Vermont, CON hurdles & more — 6 legal, regulatory issues affecting ASCs

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