5 ASC Practices That Can Yield Big Financial Benefits

Gina Espenschied, administrative director of Surgery Center at Brinton Lake in Glen Mills, Pa., offers the following tips to help produce substantial financial benefits.

1. Get surgeons to agree on supplies. This requires tabulating accurate data of supply costs so they can see the money being saved by consolidating orders behind one or two vendors. To keep supply costs low, it also helps to renegotiate supply contracts periodically.

2. Don't try to gouge insurers. In a market with many competing ASCs, we know that an insurer can drop us at will, so it's important to be fair when negotiating with insurers. We share with them our real costs, directly from our Excel spreadsheets, and add just a small percentage for profit. This cultivates trust and keeps us in their networks.

3. Stay on top of surgeons' scheduling. For example, an orthopedic surgeon is scheduled for surgery in the ASC at noon, but when asked what he plans to do in the morning, it turns out he has two shoulder operations over at the hospital. Knowing that there is no way that he will complete those by noon, the scheduler suggests a start time of 2 p.m. at the ASC, instead of noon.

4. Treat non-partners like kings. Non-partners have no financial incentive to use the ASC, so they need to be courted. They prefer ASCs that are convenient and willing to be flexible with scheduling. If a non-partner needs a different time slot, it could mean asking a partner to switch. Partners understand this is key to the financial health of the ASC.

5. Staff should be flexible about work. Agreeing to work flexible hours is a prerequisite for employment at our ASC. We let staff members work out scheduling among themselves, starting with a rough format a month in advance, then tweaking it as the date comes nearer. If a surgeon is running late, staff might take off to workout in the gym or go grocery shopping.  

Contact Ms. Espenschied at ge@brintonlakesurgery.com

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