ASC owners' biggest concerns for 2024

While ASC owners are hopeful for growth and expansion in 2024 and more procedures shift to the outpatient setting, there are still roadblocks ahead. 

In conversations with Becker's, ASC owners and physicians flagged key concerns for the new year, including the loss of physician autonomy, declining reimbursement rates, administrative tasks, burnout and workforce shortages. 

Many leaders said they are worried that as private practice becomes financially unattainable for many, physicians will lose autonomy and patient outcomes will not be prioritized. 

"With inflation resulting in rising overhead costs, it becomes more difficult for private practices to remain viable," Marsha Haley, MD, a clinical assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of Pittsburgh, told Becker's. "These practices are then vulnerable to purchase by large, vertically integrated health systems. Physicians and their patients may then become victims of the corporate practice of medicine, which results in increased physician burnout and a decline in the quality of care.".

Other specialists said they are concerned about burnout and its causes as well. 

"The biggest threat physicians are facing right now is the growing imbalance of increased workload and increased work complexity relative to the compensation and workflow support available to enable provision of the clinical care so desperately needed by our patients and communities," Gregory Smith, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, told Becker's.

"I think the administrative burdens of being a physician have become so onerous, where physicians are becoming a scribe of medical records, such that the patient-physician relationship is being progressively destroyed," Cary Passik, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, N.Y., said. 

As the cost of doing business continues to rise in healthcare, reimbursements and payment rates continue to decline, creating challenges for smaller practices such as ASCs. 

"CMS and insurance reducing reimbursement for patient care and, in turn, hospital administration focusing on patients' length of stay rather than quality care," Min Ho Cho, MD, assistant professor of medicine at UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate in Springfield, Mass., said. Additionally, lots of health problems stem from poor socioeconomic status. So without addressing patients' financial problems, their care will always be incomplete." 

"The biggest threat facing physicians is the progressive decreases in CMS compensation to physicians for services rendered," Kathleen Yaremchuk, MD, an otolaryngologist at Detroit-based Henry Ford Health, said. "This is causing a decrease in physicians in rural and urban areas, where Medicare and Medicaid is a large percentage of patient insurance. Access is poor and patient access to care decreases as well, which results in issues of healthcare equity."

Other specialists said while reimbursement rates do have an impact, worker shortages are the biggest and most overlooked threat headed into 2024. 

"The single greatest threat is not in bricks and mortar, or implants and supplies or payer reimbursements. Instead, it is systemic national shortages of perioperative professionals, starting with certified registered nurse anesthetists, surgical technologists and registered nurses," Les Jebson, regional administrator at Greenville, S.C.-based Prisma Health, told Becker's. "Those that create a team-based care environment, offer flexible staffing and benefits and tight orchestration of procedure scheduling at specific locations will be better positioned to deal with this threat." 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Podcast