10 Statistics for ASCs to Track

At the 18th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 27, Reed Martin, COO, Surgical Management Professionals, presented 10 statistics ambulatory surgery centers should track and discussed how centers can use the data to improve their centers.

Mr. Martin began by discussing the importance of statistics. "Statistics help us monitor and manage" as well as quickly identify problems and track the success of action plans to fix problems, he said.


On a daily basis, Mr. Martin recommended administrators track the following statistics:

  • Cash balance. This statistic is the "life blood" of the center, as it drives distributions and financial success, he said.
  • Operating room schedule. Examine staff productivity and physician utilization. Market to additional physicians if center capacity can support additional volume.
  • Staffing schedule. Ensure the center is properly "flexing" its staffing and identify any bottlenecks.

On a weekly basis, examine:

  • Case volume. Compare volume month-to-date vs. projections and volumes from last year, by physician.
  • Charges. Compare charges MTD to projections and year-ago charges. Identify any slowdowns and investigate their causes.
  • Collections. Compare collections MTD to prior months and determine net revenue compared to charges. Here, it's important to identify any issues that may be contributing to outstanding bills over 60 days in accounts receivable, said Mr. Martin.
  • Quality statistics/agenda. Each week, look at quality indicators and assess if your quality improvement strategies are moving these measures in the right direction, he said.
  • Employee and physician satisfaction. Finally, Mr. Martin recommended administrators identify at least one area of improvement for employee and physician satisfaction and track progress weekly. "If you wait to do it quarterly, you won't get the improvement you need," he said.

On a monthly basis, examine:

  • Net income. Compare net income to projected income and to last year's net income. When examining income, consider revenues, including payor and specialty mix, compared to case costs, recommended Mr. Martin.
  • Cash flow statement. Examine cash flow for the month and year-to-date, paying special attention to which activities are "generating" cash and which are "using" cash, said Mr. Martin.
  • AR days. Know how many days it takes to collect on charges and determine the percentage of receivables aged more than 120 days. Address any problems in collections.
  • AP balance. Know how the center's accounts payable.
  • Cases and charges by physicians. Examine volume and charges by each physician and identify and address any drops in volume.

Finally, on a quarterly basis, Mr. Martin recommended ASC administrators examine the following statistics:

  • Distributions. Examine the physicians' distributions YTD and as a percent of net income, and compare these amounts to those a year-ago.
  • Supply costs with physical inventory correction. Compare supply costs and numbers with physical inventory to determine the accuracy of the center's inventory management system.
  • Block utilization. Examine utilization rates of block scheduling. Mr. Martin recommended administrators identify the bottom 10 percent of utilizers and have discussions with them (after a few quarters of low rates) about if the block time might be better utilized.
  • Quality statistics/agenda. In addition to examining these statistics weekly, administrators should look at quality indicators on a quarterly basis and determine the impact of quality improvement initiatives, recalibrating if necessary.
  • Employee and physician satisfaction. Like quality statistics, employee and physician satisfaction should be reassessed on a quarterly basis. Even if satisfaction surveys are performed annually, a quarterly check-in of the areas the center has identified for improvement is warranted, said Mr. Martin.

At the close of the session, Mr. Martin told the audience that while statistics are very valuable, they are "not the only tool, they are one tool." Instead, he said the fun for him begins with developing strategies to improve these statistics.

More Articles on ASC Benchmarking:

50 Benchmarks on Surgery Center Finances
20 Benchmarks for Large Ambulatory Surgery Centers
20 Benchmarks for Small Ambulatory Surgery Centers

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