Considering an ASC joint venture? Follow these 6 tips

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Physician-hospital ASC joint ventures can be lucrative when executed skillfully, according to Joan Dentler, Avanza Healthcare Strategies president and CEO.

In an issue of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association's ASC Physician Focus, Ms. Dentler shared six key considerations for partnering with a hospital:

1. Bring in outside counsel. When discussing joint-venture parameters and deal terms with hospital leaders, involve a neutral attorney who has experience in ASC governance requirements. Regarding personal interests, the hospital and physicians should consult with their own respective attorneys.

2. Be open-minded about select hospital services. A surgery center can benefit from certain hospital services — such as human resources, payer contracting, maintenance, housekeeping and purchasing — without compromising efficiency. However, it's important to maintain administrative oversight.

3. Emphasize case migration. Urge hospital leaders to move some or all of the hospital's outpatient surgery portfolio to the ASC, which could help free up operating room time for higher acuity cases with higher reimbursement.

4. Establish a cooperative relationship. Build a collaborative culture through transparency and open lines of communication. Down the road, this type of relationship will enable the ASC to turn to the hospital for in-house expertise, supplies, marketing or community education efforts.

5. Adopt an ASC-specific IT team. Adopting technology designed for the hospital setting can hurt an ASC's efficiency, productivity and financial health. Make sure hospital leaders understand those risks and explore options other than an inpatient-centric IT solution.

6. Involve a third-party adviser. Continuously or periodically seek insight from a consultant. Third-party consultants can provide guidance on protecting an ASC's sustainability rather than just one party's interests.

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