The future of ASCs: 4 leaders' perspectives

Here are thoughts from four healthcare professionals and leaders on what the future might hold for ASCs:

Editor's note: Responses were edited lightly for clarity and brevity.

Brian Bacot, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Comprehensive Orthopaedic Global (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands): The trends for the future indicate that there will be higher utilization of ASCs and more procedures being approved to be performed there. Hospitals will need to react by becoming more involved with ASC development and partnership. Healthcare will certainly move away from centralized healthcare to outpatient procedures and outpatient services. This will herald a shift in increasing importance for ASCs as well as reevaluating how hospitals are utilized.

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Michael Boblitz. CEO of Tallahassee (Fla.) Orthopedic Clinic: I see orthopedics evolving into two ASC models in the future which operate in parallel to one another. This design yields the benefits on specialization of staff, resources and destination level facilities:

1) Spine and joint surgery centers

2) Outpatient orthopedic surgery center to service the other orthopedic divisions

With recent reports now indicating orthopedics ranks second in total cost of care in the commercial payer environment (behind cancer and now ahead of cardiovascular), the time has come for a better model to bend the curve and improve value.

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Kimberly Brown, MD. Chief of Gastroenterology at Henry Ford Health (Detroit): I feel the competition will increase. The hospitals are realizing that the future for most surgeries will be performing them in ASCs. Hospitals are starting to build their own ASCs or partnering with already established ASCs. Private equity is also very active in the ASC industry. With the new laws about price transparency, patients are able to look at surgery costs and compare the ASCs in their area and make decisions on where to have surgery partly based on the costs.

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Andrew Lovewell. Administrator and CEO of the Surgical Center at Columbia (Mo.) Orthopaedic Group: Coupling the trend of high-cost supplies and implants with governmental overreach and the lack of payment reform, I have great concerns for the future. The reimbursement gap between hospital outpatient departments and ASCs is paramount and needs to be addressed. One aspect where the federal government could get involved to impact change is with the distributors to assure that they do not over-markup supplies and implants.

Read the full story here.

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