Monticello Community Surgery Center CEO Andy Poole on how ASCs benefit from increased price transparency

Andy Poole, CEO of Albemarle County, Va.-based Monticello Community Surgery Center, shares insight on price transparency and offered advice to administrators looking to post their prices online.

Question: What sort of benefits do ASCs reap from making their procedure prices readily available?

Andy Poole: The most evident and direct benefit is being able to offer individuals who remain uninsured or have high deductibles a lower-cost, transparent bundled rate. While not a huge population, we have cared for individuals as far away from Virginia as Seattle, Washington and the Virgin Islands. The online pricing exposes us to a patient group that we would otherwise not be able to reach.

These patients receiving care at our center are the most tangible results, but there are many other benefits to the center by committing to transparency in pricing and outcomes. When you make this commitment, it becomes a focal point for operations. If we are going to be offering our prices online, we absolutely have to have great outcomes in the realm of patient experience and safety to go with them.

No one wants “cheap” healthcare. They want exceptional health care at a reasonable price. It creates alignment with the physicians, nurses and all of the center’s staff around creating the ideal healthcare experience, so we can then, very publicly, display the results.

Q: Are there any drawbacks to making price data available?

AP: Nothing that I would say is an absolute drawback, but there are some challenges.

One is simply the management of all of the different procedures and pricing. It is a challenge to manage and something we are still working on. The other challenge is managing the potential confusion and disappointment of patients who see a bundled price that may be lower than their insurance rates. As clear as we try to be about why bundled pricing works outside of the world of insurance, people are becoming more aware of their healthcare costs and want to pay a lower price.

Q: If you had to give advice to another center considering making their prices available, what would you say to them and why?

AP: My advice would be to think about what the benefits would be for their individual practice and analyze if they are really ready, logistically and philosophically to begin.

We are dedicated to growing our practice and already had a strong alignment with the surgeons, anesthesia group and our center’s personnel.

If you are not aligned and planning to manage a bundled price, it may be too complicated. Additionally, to post a price you have to know your costs per case and be comfortable with that data.

Are you able to reliably say what certain procedures cost the facility and what is a fair price? If not, you will need to do additional work to prepare.

Learn more from Mr. Poole at the 24th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs in October 2017. Click here for more information.

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