The state of Surgical Care Affiliates — CEO Tony Kilgore explains

UnitedHealth Group's health services arm, Optum, acquired Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates in January 2017, and since then the ASC management company has steadily grown.

In 2019, the company added 25 surgery centers to its portfolio. CEO Tony Kilgore offered insights into the company while explaining how Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Optum has helped SCA develop and advance an array of value-based care initiatives.

Note: Responses were edited for style and clarity.

Question: What's SCA's biggest accomplishment in 2019 so far?

Tony Kilgore: We are pleased that we've expanded high-quality surgical care by adding or building 25 surgery centers, while maintaining our already high patient safety standards. Part of what makes SCA special is our commitment to the patients and physicians we serve, and as part of that, we can report that SCA's patient satisfaction net promoter score currently sits at 92 percent.

Q: What's in store for the rest of the year?

TK: We continue to focus heavily on clinical quality, and we will expand on that commitment in September through an annual quality leadership program training for our nursing leaders. In addition, we are always looking for ways to provide expert surgical care for more patients in the communities we serve, to fulfill our mission to improve healthcare in America.

Q: Three years down the road, what does SCA look like in the ASC landscape?

TK: SCA will continue to differentiate through our connection and partnership with Optum serving patients across the care continuum, leading to better health outcomes and experiences for patients.

Q: What's one emerging trend in the ASC space that SCA is capitalizing on that others aren't? Why?

TK: SCA is partnering with health plans and employers on payment innovation — for example, with programs that provide incentive payments to physicians for quality outcomes. It is critical that value-based care arrangements go beyond simply decreasing health plan cost — we need to work toward providing patients with the highest-quality care and services. We're also working on more bundled arrangements, including for chronic disease and even primary care. We're able to advance these opportunities because of our connection to primary care as part of our Optum relationship.

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