The necessary change for an ASC's sustainability: key thoughts from South Portland Surgical Center's Lianna McDowell

Lianne McDowell, CASC, administrator of South Portland Surgical Center in Tualatin, Ore., shares her observations about how the healthcare field is changing and how her center will promote sustained growth over the next few years.

Ms. McDowell will speak at the Becker's ASC 25th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs, October 18-20, 2018 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register.

Question: How do you see the healthcare landscape changing and what is your strategic plan to maintain success?

Lianne McDowell: I see the value based care landscape along with the ASC's ability to be economically more viable options for payers, being recognized as cost saving options as a necessary change for sustainability in the healthcare market.

Be mindful of those changes in your market and where are they coming from (large group employers, new industry) so your ASC can capture that potential growth sooner rather than later. Are there more progressive payers that offer lower co-insurance/co-pay options to the patient if they choose an ASC over hospital outpatient? If so, get the word out and help educate the patient.

What is the local payer market and is it time to be in network if you see an influx of market change in the payer landscape. Analyze data and watch the numbers to make sure you're not losing out and knowing when it's either time to move in-network or re-negotiate a contract.

Q: What do you see your center doing over the next three to five years to promote strength and sustainable growth?

LM: With regard to our spine program, more codes continue to make their way to the Medicare ASC approved list which has helped our growth with the Medicare population move from 1 percent to 7 percent in that area over the past few years. Costs are critical to making this a success as Medicare reimbursement for spine are challenging for financial growth of the ASC in conjunction with that increased payer growth.

Get costs in control and work to bring them down with your surgeons, material managers and negotiate tough with vendors and don't be afraid to ask surgeons for help. They have a lot of pull with vendors. Through cost containment, when those codes do get added, you're up and running and ready to take on the added Medicare case and to make it successful both clinically and financially.

This is also a strategy to focus on with regard to the total joint program. Eventually those totals will make their way to the Medicare ASC approved procedure list and we want to be ready to take those patients on seamlessly once they do.

More articles on surgery centers:
10 big changes CMS proposed for ASC, outpatient payments
The 8 ASC quality reporting measures CMS wants to remove
How ASCs can improve patient satisfaction—3 months

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