The 2 factors determining ASC success

ASC success boils down to CMS policy and cost management, according to Sandy Berreth, RN, administrator at Foothill Surgery Center in Santa Barbara, Calif. Below, she discusses those factors surgery centers can control and those they can't.

Editor's note: This interview was edited lightly for length and clarity. 

Question: Which ASCs will win in their markets in the next 5 years?

Sandy Berreth: The field of ASC specialties is wide open at this point. The true determinate is what CMS will deem payable in an ASC. If cardiovascular and spine are allowed to flourish, they will be clear winners. However, the physicians in those specialties will need to learn how to manage costs and supplies to maximize their success ratios. Clearly, multispecialty ASCs will become as successful as acute care hospitals, if allowed by CMS, and much more profitable.  However, again, managing supply costs, payer contracts and staffing costs will be essential.  

Q: What is the role of ASCs in the healthcare landscape? 

SB: The ASCs' roles have been clearly identified for several years. The standard answer is that lowering costs to both the payer and the consumer is the essential benefit of the ASC structure in healthcare. A clear second consideration is care and infection prevention. ASCs continue to outdistance acute care hospitals with quality of care and ever-present low infection rates  — therefore no returns to the operating room and lower costs. The ASC dynamic is ever-changing.  ASCs are able to adapt without reams of "red tape." Remember, ASCs are ever-evolving and adapting. We are benchmarking within and without and seeking ways to improve while acute care is often mired in bureaucracy.

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