How 4 ASCs are supporting healthcare accessibility in their communities

ASCs play an important role in healthcare, offering lower-cost alternatives to hospital stays for some procedures.

Four ASC leaders told Becker's ASC Review how they help ensure healthcare access for their communities, including Medicaid and uninsured patients.

Note: Responses were lightly edited for style and length.

Steve Henry. Administrator of Harvard Park Surgery Center (Denver): Harvard Park Surgery Center is both a Medicare- and Medicaid-certified provider and accepts those patients for their procedures that fall on the Medicare- and Medicaid-approved list for ASCs. For those patients without insurance, Harvard Park offers an affordable self-pay rate based upon a percentage of the Medicare fee schedule for the Denver market. Payment plans may be extended on a case-by-case basis.

Janet Carlson, MSN, RN. CEO of Midlands Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery (Columbia, S.C.): The Surgery Center at Midlands Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery is constantly assessing and addressing the need for equity and healthcare accessibility in our community by increasing our capacity to provide care for more patients, while ensuring consistent excellent patient outcomes.

An example of this is the new service line that we established here for urologic surgery. This allows us to migrate the appropriate patient population to our ambulatory spaces for their care. We strive to provide care to our patients when and where they need it. For example, we are very flexible about allowing our surgeons the opportunity to add on emergent/urgent cases based on the needs of the patient and their acuity level to promote a higher quality of life.

The clinical quality of patient care is our top priority, along with our service excellence for each patient encounter. We control our supply spend and are intentional about not passing on the unnecessary costs of healthcare to the patient. At Midlands, we want to be part of the solution for healthcare equity, accessibility, controlling rising healthcare costs (by partnering with our vendors to control prices) and providing the safest care to allow our patients to achieve their best health.

Steve Ozeran, MD. Medical Director of Ozeran Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (Lewiston, Idaho.): We don't have any specific measures in place, but certainly costs to the patient are generally thousands of dollars less than hospital charges. Idaho Medicaid is paying a little better for ASC charges, so we can make it work without losing money as had been the case in the past. For patients without insurance, on a case-by-case basis, we have patients pay upfront. We accept Care Credit and other patient financing options, but we no longer provide services for patients without prepayment, as many patients will pay their bills off for a few months and then disappear.

Jarett Landman. CEO of Orthopedic Surgical Center of the North Shore (Peabody, Mass.): At the Orthopedic Surgical Center of the North Shore, we have made our own valuable contribution during this pandemic by providing vital access to orthopedic, gastroenterology and interventional pain services to those who are healthy. While COVID-19 has been all-consuming in our newsfeed and psyche, it isn't the only disease process affecting those in our community. For the many patients who have struggled with pain and dysfunction over the past year, we have provided a critical pathway to obtaining safe, timely care and diagnostic services. Our outpatient total joint program alone has helped over 40 patients get on the road to recovery at a time when inpatient elective surgeries were halted by the state government.

More articles on surgery centers:
Physician pay under Stark Law's final rule: 4 takeaways on fair market value
Physician practices are a hot target: 45 sales in January
Dr. Michael Ast: 3 ways orthopedics, ASCs will change in the next 3 years

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