USPI striding ahead of competition in total ASCs, physicians

Dallas-based United Surgical International Partners is strengthening its position as the leading ASC operator in the U.S., with its latest partnership adding 22 ASCs and more than 140 physicians to its network.

The ASCs and physicians are expected to join USPI, Tenet Healthcare's surgery center business, in the third quarter when its partnership with Owings Mills, Md.-based United Urology Group is complete. After the deal closes, USPI will manage and jointly own the ASCs in Maryland, Colorado and Arizona with United Urology Group and its affiliated practices. 

At the end of the first quarter, USPI had an interest in 404 ASCs and 24 surgical hospitals in 34 states, stretching further ahead of its closest competitors, Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates and AmSurg and HCA Healthcare, both of which are based in Nashville, Tenn. It also has more than 11,000 affiliated physicians, the most of any ASC operator.

As more services and procedures shift to the outpatient environment, Tenet has been bolstering its ASC business to drive revenue. The company has splashed more than $2.5 billion in capital investment to scale USPI since December 2020 and projects to see 12 percent growth in 2022 after acquiring interest in about 160 ASCs in less than two years, company executives said in a February earnings call.

USPI's recent acquisition spree includes $1.1 billion paid to acquire Towson, Md.-based SurgCenter Development — adding 85 ASCs to its network — and another $78 million to acquire the ownership of eight Compass Surgical Partners ASCs last year.

In the next three years, USPI aims to add more than 160 ASCs to its portfolio, Saum Sutaria, MD, Tenet CEO, said during a J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January. 

USPI aims to acquire 77 to 90 ASCs through 2025, develop 30 to 40 new centers in partnership with SurgCenter Development, and develop another 32 ASCs with physicians.

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