Debra Fin, administrator of Midland, Mich.-based Great Lakes Bay Surgery & Endoscopy Center, joined Becker's to discuss what will disrupt the ASC industry next.
Editor's note: This response was edited lightly for brevity and clarity.
Question: What will disrupt the ASC industry next?
Debra Fin: The old news is still active. ASCs will continue to see clinical staff recruitment woes and rising personnel expenses — particularly operating room circulators. Without the right staff and a stable group of teammates, it challenges the culture of an ASC and takes a great deal of operational focus to orient, integrate and support the standard of excellence and patient safety that ASCs deliver. We are continually working with staff to train, orient and join together on improving our work environment to deliver the work-life balance we promote.
The current item on the horizon is and continues to be the consolidation that is starting to accelerate as hospitals bring ASCs into their care delivery models and ASCs become aligned with equity partners. With approximately 74 percent of US physicians employed by hospitals or corporate entities, hospitals in many markets are using ASCs to right-size surgery delivery sites, prepare for ambulatory delivery of previous inpatient only and hospital outpatient department services and as a contracting advantage. Ambulatory ORs are now being considered a strategic resource in planning which cases will be done at what acuity level thus opening up block time at higher level of care. ASCs are even a tool to keep high volume, quick turn cases out of office-based surgeries and a resource to pick up overflow which the post-pandemic demand has prioritized for many health systems.
Equity-backed independent physician-led ASCs gain a strategic partnership that brings access to capital and resources enabling expansion or even positioning them to weather competition in their market or owner retirements. Both of these business models mean more engaged physicians and this is good for the ASC and patients.