Six experts shared their thoughts on the future of the ASC industry with Becker's ASC Review:
David Jacofsky, MD. CEO and Founder of HOPCo and the CORE Institute (Phoenix):
"The ASC industry is a game changer when it comes to the medical marketplace and will continue to be so. But all of that opportunity is predicated on effective delivery of promised quality and value. That's why at HOPCo, the CORE Institute and our other affiliated practices have invested heavily in the development of integrated protocols, proprietary tools and data capabilities proven to provide such outcomes at lower costs. Growing acknowledgment of the advantages offered by high quality ASCs will not only attract more patients, but likely convince regulators to further expand the roles that ASCs can play in our healthcare system while further incentivizing employers and insurers to drive patients to such high value sites of care delivery."
Randall Schultz, MD. Orthopedic surgeon with Texas Orthopedics (Austin):
"I think it will be increasingly recognized as a viable competitor to the hospital experience. Often physicians have a greater role in ownership and administration of these facilities, and this often leads to quality improvements and better patient experience. It is important that ASCs maintain the same regulatory standards and not put profits in front of safety."
Marcus Rothermich, MD. Orthopedic and sports medicine specialist at Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center (Birmingham, Ala.):
"I think we will see a continuation of recent trends from the past decade or so. Private physician ownership and an increase in the capability of these centers will continue to provide many convenient benefits to patients undergoing outpatient surgery."
Nikhil Verma, MD. Professor and director, division of sports medicine at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush (Chicago):
The ASC is the biggest opportunity to improve on value in joint replacement. This includes both outcomes and cost side which are lower at an ASC. Facilities need to embrace change and pursue orthopedic speciality certification while working to develop and refine protocols specific to total joint patients to include monitoring and recording outcomes.
Louis Levitt, MD. Vice president and secretary of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics (Bethesda, Md.):
In the future, I believe ASCs will expand beyond just orthopedics, and patients will also have access to more sophisticated procedures in the outpatient setting. I expect we will begin to see outpatient cardiology procedures such as cardiac stents and limited procedures on the heart valves, which can be done effectively and safely on the right patients who qualify for outpatient surgery. We'll also see continued increase in outpatient spine surgery.
Peggy Wellman. Pacific market president of United Surgical Partners International:
"I was reflecting on how we've pivoted from working directly with physicians, making sure that they have a say in who we employ, what policies are in place clinically for the care of their patients and the equipment we support. Then we moved to speaking directly with the payers, helping them to understand what we were capable of, and then we progressed with partnering with hospitals and health systems. Now we're having to focus on the patient as a consumer. We're more focused on patient experience with third-party measurements that can stand on their own, measuring how good our experience is for patients. [ASCs] offer transparency on cost — if you need to have a surgery done in a surgery center, it's easy for us to tell you what your benefit is, what your share of the cost will be — there shouldn't be any surprises when you go to a surgery center. It's a much simpler place to understand what your expenses will be."