ASC leaders on top priorities during COVID-19 pandemic

During an Oct. 15 panel led by Scott Becker at the Becker's ASC Virtual Event, industry experts gathered to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and their priorities going into 2021.

The panel included:

Tony Mrozik, CFO at Ambulatory Surgery Center of Western New York in Buffalo

Alicia Prosser, director of operations for Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates

Matthew Effron, PharmD, pharmacy manager at Cleveland Clinic

Sandra Berreth, RN, administrator at Foothill Surgery Center at Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Below is an excerpt from the discussion. Click here to access the recording on demand.

Note: This article is lightly edited for clarity and length. 

Question: What are one or two top priorities for you over the next six months?

Tony Mrozik: Top priorities are to work the backlog safely and successfully. Two, to increase our implementation of new technology that we have on the schedule. And three, make sure that we watch our revenue cycle and our cash flow. 

Alicia Prosser: Top priority is to continue this momentum of recovery and growth and build on that for 2021. We're looking to try to resume business as usual back to our normal SCA growth, so that's probably key point number one. Utilizing our strategies with our health systems, growing those — I think we have 50 percent of our centers [that] have partnerships with hospital systems. Now let's continue to grow that momentum and see where we can utilize that optimization of switching the sites of service. And then the last would probably be, just working with our physician partners, helping them stay independent, giving them resources, telehealth playbooks, things that can help them recover their practices and get back to business as usual. 

Matthew Effron: I absolutely think it's going to be critical that we continue to communicate with our patients that surgery is safe during a pandemic. And we have all the precautions in place to make it the absolute safest place to have a surgery, especially an ambulatory surgery center. For so many reasons, there's always been, over the past couple of years and going forward, the drive to make it the most cost-effective way to have surgery, in the ambulatory surgery center when possible. We're seeing all these drivers that are making it so much easier to have surgery in this setting. So I hope if we communicate those [messages] to our patients and we look at the reimbursement models that are driving the setting of where surgery is, I think that's going to be the best advice for any ASC leader.

Sandra Berreth: Actually I have one priority and it is probably the biggest one I have, and that's financial. We lost a lot of money in those two months that we were down completely. So if I had three priorities, it's financial, financial and staff is my last. I have to take care of my staff [or] I won't have a surgery center, and I have to take care of all of the financials.

More articles on surgery centers:
The most pressing issues facing ASCs in 2021
9 recent health system restrictions and service suspensions due to COVID-19
Healthcare unions rally to save jobs before Kaiser closes Hawaii ASC

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