Physician-hospital ASC joint ventures: 4 experts explain how to get in on the action

Angie Stewart - Print  |

During a panel discussion at Becker's Hospital Review's 9th Annual Meeting April 12, four healthcare experts shared their thoughts on the evolution of physician-hospital ASC joint ventures and offered tips for leaders looking to forge these partnerships.

Numerous factors have driven significant growth and acceptance of the ASC model over the past decade, according to North American Partners in Anesthesia Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer Peter Doerner.

"We have the ACA, we have the next evolution of the ACA — whatever that will be — we've had the movement from fee to value," he said. "All those things are encouraging more collaboration between the parties."

PDI Surgery Center CEO Viveka Rydell-Anderson experienced the shifting perspectives firsthand. Local hospitals invested in PDI because they wanted the surgery center to take on a certain segment: children with special needs.

"In the last 10 years, they've each saved billions of dollars from us being there," she said. "I think everyone's seeing themselves more [as part of] the community and [determining] what's the most efficient way to care for patients."

When hospitals and physicians are ready to dive into an ASC joint venture, they should openly communicate governance, operations, structure and how 'what if' scenarios will be handled — like if the payment comes and someone wants out, said Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery CEO/Administrator Dawn Knight. "Then everyone's clear, and then you can work on your culture."

VMG Health Managing Director Don Barbo, CPA/ABV, urged leaders to also find advisers who have experience with ASC deals and writing strong governing documents.

"If you haven't ever developed a surgery center, I strongly recommend getting an ASC management company that has done it before and knows what to look out for," he said. "What you don't want to do is swing and miss with physicians that are key to your community and get cross with those docs because that obviously can have downstream impacts."

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