Having served as Bone and Joint Surgery Center of Novi’s (BJSCN) first Clinical Director, then spending more than a decade developing other ASCs in Michigan and at a national ASC management company, I’ve observed many approaches to ASC operations - some that worked well, and others that didn’t. Since rejoining BJSCN last year as the Chief Administration Officer, I have drawn upon these experiences, and the knowledge I’ve gained, to help restructure BJSCN with specific goals of streamlining operations and increasing revenue.
It is my hope, that in sharing some of this knowledge, I can help other ASC Administrators and leaders identify new ways to increase operational efficiencies and reduce expenses to improve financial performance.
1. Think outside the box. There are a number of facets to how a center spends money and many opportunities to decrease expenses. We looked at everything, including reducing payroll by condensing operating schedules, intense discussions with our physicians on a quarterly basis, understanding total case costs and renegotiating contracts with suppliers. We evaluated every case to identify where improvements could be made. We also began an annual scorecard review with our physicians that summarizes their performance at our center on an annual basis.
2. Get to know your software. If you are using clinical and/or financial management software (which you should be), chances are you aren’t utilizing the technology to its fullest. With so much functionality embedded into today’s software, most staff are only minimally scratching the surface. Ongoing training will ensure your team is using software to its maximum potential. With refresher training from our vendor, we’ve been able to fine tune how we enter information into the system, generate reports faster, and more closely track how we’re managing our center.
3. Don’t underestimate the value of reports. The ability to easily pull detailed reports from your software is essential to run the facility. Without this information it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to track costs, manage inventory, optimize scheduling, etc. With data in hand, operational and financial benchmarks can be reviewed to identify areas where adjustments can be made that will positively impact profit margins. Make sure that key team members know how to run these operational reports and get them involved in the surveillance.
4. Partner with an industry expert. Most people don’t have the background to understand the intricacies of insurance contracts. Without this knowledge it is impossible to know if everything that can be billed is being billed, if reimbursements are accurate, and if cases are managed profitably. An outside revenue cycle management partner can provide expertise and best practices for greater success. SourceMed’s Revenue Cycle Services team constantly monitors our revenue cycle key performance indicators (KPIs) to help us spot opportunities for improvement and quickly take action. In doing so they helped reduce BJSCN’s lag days more than 250 percent.
5. Follow-up should be diligent. Whether tracking down a pathology report or a physician to complete a dictation, the sooner outstanding billing issues are addressed the quicker they will be resolved (and revenue recorded). Consistent follow-up on outstanding issues is essential for a healthy revenue stream. Ask your revenue cycle partner to provide weekly reports that offer results.
BJSCN’s financial position has improved substantially over the past year. There’s no way we could have done it without the right experience, technology and people working together to make the best decisions for our facility. What steps are you taking to strengthen your operational and financial performance in 2017?