Dr. Brent Lambert: 7 Qualities That Make ASCs Attractive for Hospitals in Competitive Markets

Dr. Brent Lambert on Hospital ASC StrategyAt the Becker's Hospital Review Annual Meeting in Chicago on May 10, 2013, President and Founder of Ambulatory Surgical Centers of America Brent Lambert, MD, gave a presentation titled "Outpatient Strategies in a Competitive Market."

"If a hospital has an ASC, it helps secure the best surgeons in the area," said Dr. Lambert. "It attracts the 'carnivores'; the surgeons who are very skilled and get great results. They can never get enough, and they have this eat-what-you-kill mentality. They are very valuable to have as a part of the hospital. Offer strong financial incentives for them."

An ASC joint venture creates loyalty among surgeons because the ASC is one of the last entrepreneurial opportunities left for them. "Having an ASC is consistent with their practice of medicine and gives them a sense of control from an operative standpoint," said Dr. Lambert. "An ASC also opens options for the hospital buy-out after the hospital goals are achieved. If you create an ASC, you've got great market share, surgeons are loyal to you and it becomes a profit center."

Hospitals often find owning ASCs attractive because:

•    Capacity problems are relieved
•    It becomes part of the accountable care organization strategy
•    ASCs become profit centers
•    ASCs are attractive to surgeons and can recruit them away from competitors
•    Hospitals can retain high value market share
•    Hospitals can expand their service area with ASCs
•    Low cost, high quality care at ASCs supports risk insurance plans

"Hospitals sometimes view the ASC as the competitor and they want to take it off the table," said Dr. Lambert. "There are hospitals weighing these options to see if they can accomplish their goals with the ASC."

Some groups are bringing on management companies, such as ASCOA, as well to assist with the joint ventures. "We are effective recruiters," said Dr. Lambert. "We can go out and recruit physicians into the ASC. We are also viewed as an objective third party that can provide structure to the joint venture."

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