Physician-ownership models will be key to ASC success in 2023, administrator says

Joe Peluso, administrator at Aestique Surgery Center in Greensburg, Pa., recently connected with Becker's to discuss consolidation trends he is monitoring in 2023.

Editor's note: This response was edited lightly for brevity and clarity.  

Question: What consolidation trends are you eyeing in 2023?

Joe Peluso: 2022 was a year of transformative change in the healthcare industry marked by persistent inflation, geopolitical conflict, ongoing supply chain disruptions and a challenging labor market. As a result, it is imperative that ASCs consistently seek innovative and thought-provoking opportunities to enhance operating efficiencies and access to the delivery of high-quality care. The role of ASCs has continued to evolve, but ASCs' commitment to provide value, agility to adapt to the changing landscape, and advancing safe, high-quality, cost-effective outpatient care has never wavered.

Consolidation trends in ASCs for 2023 will continue to focus on affordability. Healthcare costs have continued to escalate, rising at a faster rate than inflation, impacting accessibility and affordability for families and businesses, which is not sustainable. The ASC industry continues to expand with hundreds of new facilities scheduled to be built in 2023 because CMS is updating regulations and payments that will allow more complex surgical procedures to be performed safely and cost effectively in an ASC setting. 

The major players in the marketplace will continue to grow. However, new trends that involve collaboration and partnerships between and among independent physician specialists and independent community hospitals/systems will develop innovative strategic models. These models provide opportunities for physicians to have a majority ownership interest in the ASC versus the traditional models of highly capitalized national organizations, private equity and large integrated healthcare delivery systems having a controlling majority interest and also employing some physicians. 

The independent models search for economies of scale and physician leadership critical to long-term sustainability. Operational risk is distributed across the majority of physician shareholders that can selectively positively impact resources to contain costs and improve overall patient outcomes, as well as the patient and caregiver experience as a pathway for growth. Physician majority owners can enjoy increased revenue and work-life balance and practice medicine on their own terms.

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