What is One of the Biggest Missed Opportunities in ASC Cost Cutting?

Bill HazenASC leaders are excellent at finding cost savings, but there is always more to be done. What is one of the most frequently missed opportunities to cut costs? Bill Hazen, administrator of the Surgery Center at Pelham in Greer, S.C., shares his expertise on how change can translate into significant savings.

Q: What do you think is an underutilized cost cutting strategy in ASCs?

Bill Hazen: I think the most important thing ASC leaders need to be thinking about is the changes in healthcare. Our reimbursement is changing. Some vendors are willing to play, some aren't. We have been a single-vendor center, but we can't do that anymore. Now we negotiate and bring in more than one vendor. I think the opportunity to adopt to change is underused; you get into a comfort zone. The industry is changing so fast and we need to change as well. We are great, but we need to get better.

Q: How can ASC administrators engage staff and physicians in finding ways to cut costs?

BH: We have a series of goals that change depending on performance. Right now our goals focus on case cost, case revenue, patient satisfaction and physician satisfaction. Five percent of all distributions are split equally among all the employees if these goals are met. For every dollar the staff saves the center that is five cents in their pockets.

Q: After identifying an area for cost cutting, how can ASC leaders implement a change and measure how significant an impact the change has on a center's costs?

BH: We watch our goals very closely. I watch my financials on a weekly basis. You will see any change very quickly. Employees will come to you with cost savings ideas. If one of our goals, say patient satisfaction, is consistently running at 99 percent we find a new goal. We discuss this at least once a year at the board level. We want these goals to be a challenge.

More Articles on ASC Issues:
Best Tips for Negotiating With Payers: Administrators Speak Up
ASC Referral Patterns: Deciphering 6 Big Industry Trends
3 ASC Transaction Trends: Q&A With Dr. Stacey Berner of SurgCenter Development

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