Four experts from the ASC industry shared their insights on the trends to expect in the rest of 2019 with Becker's ASC Review.
The key trends to know:
DeeDee Dalke, Solutions Consultant for Simplify ASC: With the shift towards more complex procedures, you're likely to see ASCs utilize additional 23-hour stay options. More specialty-only centers moving to multispecialty status is another opportunity on the horizon, but only where it makes sense, such as an ophthalmology-only center bringing on a plastic surgery capability. We're also seeing more partnerships emerge to offer care from all sides: a joint or spine program might include the physician, at-home care post procedure, physical therapy and the ASC all partnering together to offer more coordinated care, which will help lower costs and boost the quality of care. Lastly, we have a good track record on infection control, patient satisfaction and patient safety, but we need to do a better job of promoting that record.
Gordon Soderland, Executive Vice President of Strategic Relationships for Flagship Healthcare Properties: Hospitals and health systems have been aggressively acquiring ASCs and employing their physician owners. Once acquired, health systems are shifting patient volume to these newly acquired facilities from other employed and affiliated surgeons to achieve maximum utilization. As consumers become increasingly responsible for the cost of healthcare and procedure pricing becomes more transparent, patients will shift their buying decisions to lower-cost, higher-quality providers delivering a better experience.
Chris Markford, Administrator of the Orthopaedic Surgery Center of Clearwater (Fla.): I'm seeing greater interest in bundled programs with the facility as the responsible party. I believe one reason such a model is being pushed on us is so that we move away from a payment model that includes implant reimbursement. The payers are recognizing the fact that coverage for implants only leads to higher surgical costs. Forcing the facility to seek out less expensive options ultimately leads to overall savings for the payer. Ideally, the surgeon's share of the bundle would be impacted by implant choice since he or she would have skin in the game. Building out those bundled models and having your top 20 cases priced out would help any facility be prepared for the eventual request.
Miranda Kelley, JD, Partner at Waller, a national healthcare law firm: Surgery center management companies aren’t just purchasing ASCs anymore, they are also purchasing physician practices with affiliated ASCs, which encompasses corporate practice of medicine issues. We also continue to see more and more focus on ophthalmology surgery centers which are becoming more prominent in the ASC space.