4 Best Strategies for Physician-Owned ASCs and Hospitals for the Next Five Years

Section 6001 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act disallowed any new physician-owned hospitals from starting or existing ones from expanding unless the physician-owned facility was Medicare-certified by Dec. 31, 2010. At the 18th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 28, Michael Lipomi, president and CEO of Surgical Management Professionals, gave some best strategies on how physician-owned hospitals as well as physician-owned ASCs can survive over the next five years.

1. Increase efficiencies and productivity. Because existing physician-owned hospitals cannot add operating rooms, beds or procedures, they must be able to increase efficiencies and productivity standards, Mr. Lipomi said. The same holds true for physician-owned ASCs. They could increase efficiencies by reducing turnover times, creating longer surgery hours, adding Saturday surgery schedules, recruiting outpatient physicians and recruiting physician assistants to move patients in and out of the OR quicker.

2. Standardize implants. A consistent theme within ASCs has been to remove the sales representative from the process, and Mr. Lipomi said physician-owned ASCs and hospitals can buy implants 30 percent to 50 percent cheaper without a sales rep.

3. Try to spread out physician ownership among more physicians. Physician-owned hospitals cannot increase the percentage of physician ownership in a facility, but they can try to add investors by having existing physicians sell a part of their ownership share to new physicians. "It provides cash, reduces risk and brings more committed physicians who could utilize and grow the case volume of the facility," Mr. Lipomi said.

4. Increase emphasis on quality reporting and benchmarking. Quality reporting and data-driven measures have become an increased emphasis in the healthcare industry, and physician-owned ASCs and hospitals should have their administrators mine that data to make sure the costs of their facilities are on par with similar entities. For example, Mr. Lipomi said benchmarking reports could give ASCs and hospitals an idea of where their salary costs are and how they stack up against nationwide averages.

5. Communicate with the medical staff. Talking to the medical staff is essential for several reasons, Mr. Lipomi said. The medical staff will know new physicians coming into the community for potential recruits, and their feedback can provide invaluable insight on internal operations.

6. Distribute case costing figures to surgeons. Case costing by procedure and specialty is a "good, collegial way of being more efficient," Mr. Lipomi said. Distributing the case costs of all surgeons and how they rank against other surgeons within the facility could stimulate surgeons to see how other physicians are doing their cases at more inexpensive rates.

Related Articles on Physician-Owned ASCs and Hospitals:

Pinnacle III to Open Texas Surgery Center in Pearland
Cost-Effective HR at Physician-Owned Hospitals is Possible: 5 Things to Know
Forming a New Surgery Center: 3 Solutions to Common Mistakes

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