Key trends and concepts for a thriving ASC: 3 questions with Polaris Spine COO Joy Taylor

COO of Polaris Spine Joy Taylor discusses the ASC payer landscape and where her center will grow in the future.

Ms. Taylor 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 have you seen the payer landscape change over the past three to five years? What trends are you preparing for in the future?

Joy Taylor: While the out-of-network opportunity has narrowed, it hasn't altogether disappeared, depending on the geographic region. We are learning all we can about how to continue to maximize that, where it makes sense to, while we still can. Collect Rx has been a valuable partner in that area. We have also worked to expand some of our more 'niche' work in workers' comp and personal injury. While these will never be the bulk of what we do, they are a nice complement to our other payers, often having appreciably higher reimbursements, in addition to expanding our market.

We also find ourselves in the complex intersection of having multiple physician owners opted out of Medicare, which has proven a great strategy from an opportunity cost standpoint, but it also means we do no Medicare cases in the surgery center at all. As the government is increasingly enmeshed in healthcare, we vigilantly monitor these developments.

Q: What is the smartest thing your ASC does to improve the patient experience, beyond the typical advantages an ASC has over the hospital?

JT: By having our own ASC, we can completely customize the patient experience. Because our patients have been seen in our office and have already formed relationships with us, we are able to anticipate their unique needs and provide personalized care.
We have found that the little things go a long way. After surgery in our ASC, we provide patients with a postoperative care kit of sorts, complete with a Polaris tote bag for clothing and belongings, organic chapstick for dry lips post-intubation and warm socks. These ideas have come from listening to our patients' feedback.

In addition to providing care for our patients, we pay a great deal of attention to the patients' families. We try to provide a relaxing experience for them, with assorted teas and coffees, snacks and comfortable chairs and couches.

Q: Over the next two to three years, what is the biggest opportunity for ensuring profitability at your ASC?

JT: While always being mindful that patient safety and great outcomes are paramount, we continue to look to expand our range of procedures and expand our market share.

At the same time, we have worked extensively with our anesthesiology group to tighten turnaround as, when it comes to ORs, time is quite literally money. In the same vein, we have also found photographers very interested in using our site on weekends for healthcare product photo shoots, which can turn what would otherwise be a weekend where the space generated zero revenue into a profitable one.

Our excellent director of nursing, Denise Crocker, works to fine-tune staff schedules to ensure we are staffing as needed and not on a perfunctory basis.

More articles on surgery centers:
3 ways ASCs can prevent surprise billing
ASC payer landscape: 4 insights from administrators & leaders
Is CMS committed to site-neutral payments? What the proposed 2019 OPPS may indicate for ASCs

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