How ASC leaders are approaching investment, growth

From total joint procedures to private equity, 10 ASC leaders joined Becker's to discuss how they are looking at growth and investment within the last year:

Editor's note: These interviews were edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

Jared Langus. Principal at ECG Management Consultants. COVID reinvigorated conversations about preparedness and how what might seem like a strategy with a long-term horizon can quickly turn into a short-term emergency. Organizations need to think about their flexibility, their ability to be nimble and their strategic and financial plan to address both short- and long-term needs. Capital planning is an important part of that conversation.

Harel Deutsch, MD. Co-director of Rush Spine Center at Rush University Medical Center (Chicago): Investments in healthcare are probably not tied into the business cycle as much as other cyclical investments. Because healthcare is increasingly dominated by the government, changes in the government could affect healthcare, but currently, the government is deadlocked and doesn't seem interested in change. Therefore, I would anticipate steady growth.

Ernest Braxton, MD. Neurosurgeon at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery. (Vail, Colo.): We are looking at different models that include capitalization from private equity, population health, and the development of ancillaries to combat decreasing physician reimbursement and increased utilization of healthcare services. I believe our current way of doing things is unsustainable if these trends continue.

Jessica Rodriguez. Administrator at OAM Surgery Center at Midtowne (Grand Rapids, Mich.): The ASC industry is poised for huge amounts of growth over the next two years. If COVID did anything good, it is that patients and physicians both realized the advantages surgery in an ASC has over a hospital.

Lori Tamburo Martini. Administrator at Specialty Orthopedic Group Surgery Center (Tupelo, Miss.): Our facility and practice are experiencing tremendous growth. Specialty Orthopedic Group is expanding clinic and ASC operations and adding multiple physicians. We are a subspecialized group, and physician recruitment is a top priority. We intend to remain independent during this time of growth. Our physicians strongly believe in investing in themselves. We will be breaking ground on a second surgery center, hopefully by the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023, and that will allow us to better serve an expanded footprint in North Mississippi.

Earl Anderson. CEO of Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics (Knoxville): Real estate, ASCs and [management services organization] development are top of mind for our investments and growth, but we cannot forget that people are going to require a higher level of investment as well.

Todd Lansford, MD. Spine Surgeon at South Carolina Sports Medicine (Charleston). The next two years are still full of uncertainty. We hope to be out of this craziness of the last two years, but one is never certain. We cannot count on a continued increase in volume, but one can always invest in land and clinic space. There will always be a limit on land, and it continues to be a stable investment in these unstable times. 

Matt Lightle. Director of Business Development of the Surgical Center at Columbia (Mo.) Orthopaedic Group: Given the coming market growth in total joint replacement and pain management procedures, we are looking to expand these service lines through recruitment and furthering our operational efficiencies within our facility.

Theresa Copeland. Director of Payer Contracting and Surgical Services at OrthoTennessee (Knoxville): The growth I imagine is additional ASC/office surgery space. The ability to create this space takes both time and funds, and since we're in a [certificate-of-need] state, it takes three or more years to develop this space. We are continually looking at the most appropriate service site for procedures involving moving total joints and spine to the ASC and interventional spine and hand procedures to the office. 

Stephanie Tarry. Executive Vice President of ASCs Inc.: For the outpatient industry, investments will be made into technology, equipment and new partners that will allow the operations to increase volumes with new service lines and advanced cases. The increased volumes and new service lines in the outpatient space will drive the need for additional capacity and center expansion to create continued growth in outpatient services. 

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