Why new ASCs could fall short

Investing in ASCs presents healthcare professionals with opportunities that may not be available to players in other markets.

A February survey of health system executives by VMG Health found that 60% of leaders would consider pursuing outpatient surgery joint ventures in 2024 — the highest area of interest of any potential specialty partnerships. However, this does not mean that success is guaranteed. 

Here are some common mistakes made by groups attempting to enter the ASC market for the first time, and how to potentially avoid them:

Not finding the proper balance between cost-saving and care quality 

According to Shakeel Ahmed, MD, CEO of Atlas Surgical Group in St. Louis, finding the proper way to cut costs without sacrificing quality is paramount to success. 

"​​One effective strategy is to focus on specialties that are associated with lower surgical expenses, allowing for a more efficient allocation of resources," Dr. Ahmed told Becker's. "This approach not only enhances financial efficiency but also positions your business competitively within the market."

Dr. Ahmed explains that there are some areas in which budgets should ideally not be constrained too much.

"Staffing is one area where compromises can have significant negative impacts on both patient outcomes and business reputation," he said. "Prioritizing both cost management in service offerings and excellence in staffing is key to a robust and thriving operation."

Not differentiating your ASC from other facilities 

Jay Mackey, CEO of Occu-Health Surgery Center in Houston, told Becker's that finding what makes any ASC unique is pivotal. 

"Determine how you can compete or collaborate with large physician groups who could drive volume to your center, or support your volume if you’re bringing the cases," Mr. Mackey said. "What does that look like from an incentivization perspective, and is it practical for you and your partners?"

Not being open to expanding service lines 

Not being open to adding more specialized service lines can hold any ASC back, according to Kristin McCann, MSN, RN, the ASC testing nurse manager at United Health Service Hospitals in Binghamton, N.Y.

"Here at United Health Service Hospitals, we recently introduced cardiac services to the ASC," Ms. McCann told Becker's. "We increased access to care for our patients needing cardioversions, loop implants/explants and coming soon, generator changes. Adding this service to our ASC has allowed increased access to care for our patients while giving the nurses the ability to utilize their skills to sedate the patients for their procedure."

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