Investment in an ASC is a long-term strategy for physicians, particularly those not employed by a hospital, to thrive financially and gain more control over their day-to-day workflow.
ASC investment and ownership also gives many physicians flexibility, providing a more manageable workload and schedule than hospital or corporate employment.
"The next-generation physicians have now seen the pros and cons of hospital employment," Joe Greene, MD, co-founder of Louisville (Ky.) Hip & Knee Institute, told Becker's. "Paramount to the success of those private practices is ASC ownership. ASC ownership has financial gains in itself but also enables a much more productive and happy work experience."
Self-employed physicians make 18 percent more than employed physicians, according to Medscape's "Physician Compensation Report 2022," and ASC ownership also offers ancillary revenue that hospital employment often lacks.
"Ancillary service revenue can reflect up to 50 to 60 percent of a private practicing physician's income which, unfortunately, short of gain-sharing opportunities or partial ASC ownership, is usually unavailable in a large healthcare system-employed practice situation," Jack Bert, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Woodbury (Minn.) Bone & Joint, told Becker's.
Compared to other traditional passive investments, surgery centers also offer a more personalized experience. Physicians can grow their income based on their work.
"By investing in their ASC operation, physicians can capture the facility portion of the reimbursement schedule, providing additional income for the work and investment they’ve put in," Collin Hart, CEO and managing director at ERE Healthcare Real Estate Advisors in Costa Mesa, Calif, told Becker's. "Try doing that with your Apple or Tesla stock."
As private equity, health systems and payers are looking to ASCs as an investment opportunity, physicians are following suit.