ASC market could still see growth despite ongoing staffing issues

Staffing shortages remain a top priority for ASC administrators, but some healthcare leaders believe the ASC market can still thrive under the pressure.

Three healthcare leaders connected with Becker's to answer, "What does 2023 have in store for the ASC industry?"

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Galina Bondar. SIS Business Analyst at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center (Portland, Ore.): Although hospitals in 2023 will continue experiencing financial difficulties due to supply costs and staffing shortages, I can see the potential growth in ASCs in the coming years being fueled in large part by CMS incentivizing the shift in surgical procedures from inpatient to outpatient settings. This means healthcare organizations should continue to invest in ASCs as a business strategic move. A robust ASC strategy can help hospitals become more resilient, promote value-based care, increase patient satisfaction, control costs, and maintain a strong operating margin.

Sriram Narsipur, MD. Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education at SUNY Upstate Medical University (Syracuse, N.Y.): I think the major factor in the ASC industry remains staffing and workforce. Creative legislation will allow task trained individuals to be certified in functions previously only allowed under licensed providers. In addition, liberalization of visa requirements for offshore trained nurses and others will create a brain drain for the rest of the world while increasing support for domestic operations. The volume of procedures will rise as afforded by staffing in light of the growing opportunities to provide advanced care in an outpatient setting with less dependence on hospital based operating rooms.

Michael Richards, MD, PhD. Ben H. Williams Professor of Economics in the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University (Waco, Texas): I suspect 2023 will be another year of increasing consolidation within the ASC space. Care will continue to shift out of the hospital, and ASCs will benefit from that. At the same time, ASCs will become increasing targets for horizontal and vertical deals. Independent ASCs may have a harder time resisting acquisition offers when facing growing costs due to staffing, tech and contracting pressures.

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