Independence has become synonymous with the culture of ASCs with about 70 percent of surgery centers being independent. But as economic pressures push the industry to further consolidate, why do some ASC and private practice physicians strive to hang on to independence?
At the end of the day, many physicians crave autonomy.
"It is a lot more about compliance in the corporate world. In a private practice, you're focused on being nimble and making decisions every day," Michael Gross, MD, an orthopedic surgeon based in Hackensack, N.J., told Becker's. "You can look at things and say, 'We can do this better, why don't we do it this way.' You're constantly striving to be better and to be more excellent. The corporate world looks at it like, 'We're doing this pretty good, Let's not mess with it. It's good enough.' And people are more worried about even voicing an opinion in the corporate world. Everybody's always looking over their shoulder."
The survival of independent ASCs is largely dependent on outside economic factors such as inflation and competition for staff.
"I believe the outlook for ASCs in general is quite bright, although the outlook for independent ASCs is mixed in my opinion," William Evans, vice president of surgical services and orthopedics at Allina Health in Minneapolis, told Becker's. "Certainly many independent ASCs will be successful in the future, but their success will be increasingly dependent upon the right market conditions. Issues such as surgeon consolidation, competition for staff, inflated supply expenses, pricing power in the local market and potentially legislative interference will prove to be challenging to many ASCs. Controlling the key variables needed for success will be of paramount importance."