Disruptors pose a threat to healthcare as a whole, including ASCs.
Here are three of the biggest disruptors concerning ASC leaders in 2023:
1. Increasing supply costs
About half of U.S. hospitals ended 2022 with negative margins, and cost reduction is top of mind for industry leaders. ASCs are presented with unique financial challenges compared to large, health system-backed hospitals.
"Increasing costs of resources and health systems that continue to prioritize resources for hospital services and that do not pursue alignment with physicians are the biggest threat to ASCs," Paula Autry, CEO of Leadership DNAmics in Grass Lake, Mich., told Becker's.
2. Staffing shortages
Although ASCs have the potential to provide physicians with more autonomy, something many wish for, that benefit is nullified if ASCs are unable to sustain themselves due to lack of staff.
"The shortage of clinical labor is a phenomenon that has been ongoing for many years prior to COVID-19 (including not just clinicians in patient care roles, but also clinical educators). The pandemic made this a more substantial issue within the healthcare industry. The volatility of the clinical labor market continues to encounter challenges such as staff strikes, clinicians moving into travel assignment roles and away from single-facility commitments, etc.," Joe D'Agostino. administrator of Advanced Surgery Center Perimeter in Sandy Springs, Ga, and Gwinnett Advanced Surgery Center in Snellville, Ga., recently told Becker's.
3. Growth of private equity
Some leaders of physician-owned practices worry that private equity investors do not put patients first, prioritizing profit over quality of care.
"Our physician owners know that when you put patient safety and quality care first, success follows. Private equity firms have a different focus, namely to invest, increase the value over time and sell for a profit," Kim Mikes, BSN, RN, CEO of Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, Calif., told Becker's. "With this goal in mind, in the private equity-owned ASC there may be a loss of physician autonomy, a prioritization of financial return with a resultant shift away from a focus on high-quality patient care. I worry what may happen to patients when your principal priority is a return on investment."