5 insights from experts about the future of ASCs

Here are five key insights from experts about where the ASC industry is headed:

1. Manoj Mehta, MD, medical director of Wilmette, Ill.-based Endoscopy Center of the North Shore:

"ASC opportunities, like a lot of things in the business world, cycle and evolve. The more urban areas get saturated with businesses, there are fewer opportunities to 'hang a shingle' and start anew. Although ASC opportunities may be present in more rural areas, the difficulty of a large catchment area is that people have to travel far. That works against the core appeal of convenience for most ASCs. But the issue is not just saturation; it's the cyclic and evolutionary nature of these developments. We all know stories of the corner video shops going under due to Blockbuster, or the mom and pop businesses going under as Walmart moved into town. What we don't know is what the ASC equivalent of the video streaming industry or Amazon delivery will do to ASCs as the future evolves. But, in change, there is always opportunity for people who think ahead, no matter what happens."

2. Tricia Frank, BSN, RN, administrator of Empire Surgery Center in Bakersfield, Calif.:

"I think increased price transparency ahead of patients' procedures will be a hot topic, along with how ASCs can continue to enhance the patient experience by providing not only top-notch medical care, but quality customer service as well. Patients are consumers, and with the consumerism of healthcare and on-demand access becoming the norm in most other aspects of our lives, patients' expectations from healthcare will continue to raise the bar — and rightfully so.

Technology will continue to reign supreme and be crucial in the ASC space for improved inventory and budget tracking, efficiency monitoring and improvement, and overall patient safety and satisfaction. While we're all busy operating a business, we have to remember not to lose sight of the main goal: providing quality care and service to our patients."

3. Louis Levitt, MD, vice president and secretary of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics in Bethesda, Md.:

"There will continue to be strong growth, driven by high patient satisfaction rates and better outcomes compared to the hospital setting. In 2017, ASC volumes increased by 22.9 percent nationally, and the market is forecasted to surpass $40 billion by 2020, according to the Advisory Board.

"The initial push for ASCs was driven by common, simple musculoskeletal processes, and the orthopaedic community served as the impetus for ASC profitability. With better anesthetics and pain control, better management of blood and blood products, and a healthier patient population, we can now offer outpatient services that were traditionally primarily done in the hospital setting. What's more, there are very few elective surgical procedures that require patients to stay in the hospital for longer than one day, so expanding ASCs to offer 23-hour stays will further increase the volume and type of outpatient procedures.

"In the future, I believe ASCs will expand beyond just orthopedics, and patients will also have access to more sophisticated procedures in the outpatient setting. I expect we will begin to see outpatient cardiology procedures such as cardiac stents and limited procedures on the heart valves, which can be done effectively and safely on the right patients who qualify for outpatient surgery. We'll also see continued increase in outpatient spine surgery."

4. Joan Dentler, president and CEO of Avanza Healthcare Strategies:

"I expect that we will see the continued consolidation of ASCs as well as surgery center management and development companies. With the critical role of ASCs firmly cemented within healthcare, I anticipate that there will be a proliferation of vendors specializing in serving ASCs in areas including revenue cycle management, information technology, recruitment and staffing, infection prevention, financing and education and training.

Finally, I expect that we will continue to see payers embracing the ASC model and exploring ways to direct care, when appropriate, out of the inpatient setting and into the outpatient setting. Look for expanded coverage of complex procedures and growth of value-based payment models, like bundles."

5. Tyler Crawford, CEO of BHG Patient Lending:

"We expect revenue cycles to become an even bigger conversation through the rest of 2019. Patients today are struggling financially to pay for medical care or forgoing treatment altogether because they can’t afford it, while healthcare facilities aren’t getting paid for the care they provide — and this isn’t going to change anytime soon.

ASCs are looking to offer alternative payment options so they can continue providing treatment to their patients, but in a more affordable way. In doing so, they can lower patient cancellation rates and provide a better experience, all while helping their bottom line by increasing collection rates and revenue for their centers."

More articles on turnarounds:
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