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Mississippi Valley Health CEO Michael Patterson on the most pressing issues facing ASCs today and in the future

Growth, value-based care and payer reimbursement are some of the most pressing issues Michael J. Patterson, president and CEO of Davenport, Iowa-based Mississippi Valley Health, believes the ASC industry is facing.

Leading the Quad Cities largest multi-specialty outpatient surgery center, Mr. Patterson shared his thoughts on issues facing the ASC industry with Becker's ASC Review.

Question: What would you say is the most pressing issue facing the ambulatory surgery arena in 2018?

Michael Patterson: I believe the most pressing issue facing ASCs is the opportunity for growth.

Healthcare continues to evolve, our technology continues to improve and the ability to care for more patients on an outpatient basis continues to mature.

ASCs must position themselves for this growth over the next 20 years. Facility design and capacity limitations should be reviewed now so that ASCs can continue to be ready to serve a growing outpatient market in the years to come.

Facilities that are more than 20 years old — like our flagship ASC — need to consider how they plan to care for patients over the next couple of decades. As our industry continues to mature, we have to recognize that facility planning, updating, and renovating will become part of a solid long term strategic plan.

Another more immediate issue facing ASCs is the continued disparity of Medicare reimbursement between ASCs and hospital outpatient departments. ASCs are paid, from CMS, on average 49 percent of what a hospital outpatient department is paid for the same procedure. We need every ASC to participate with ASCA, our national ASC Association, and assist their efforts to educate legislators so we can reverse this negative trend.

We don’t want to see patients transition back into the more expensive hospital setting ultimately costing everyone more tax dollars that could be better used for other pressing national healthcare needs.

Q: What areas of growth are there for ASCs as reimbursement rates continue to lower?

MP: There are several growth opportunities on the horizon including cardiovascular, electrophysiology, bariatrics, spine, neuro, total joints, and more.

The list continues to grow as physicians continue to be innovative and better understand ways in which they can treat patients in the safest, highest quality, lowest cost setting.

Pioneers in medicine often take great risk when transitioning patient care to new and different settings but the results for patients can be remarkable.

For example, the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center has been performing total joint replacement and spine surgery for over a decade. We have treated thousands of patients and our results have been very impressive.

We have hosted several other ASC leaders, clinical staff, surgeons, and anesthesia providers to assist them with developing their own outpatient total joint and spine programs.

ASCs, which are predominantly physician lead organizations, are better positioned to take advantage of technology changes and shifts in site of care that allow for rapid growth and the ability to capture new volume rather quickly.

Q: What should ever ASC capitalize on as healthcare continues to shift to value-based care?

MP: Every ASC should capitalize on their clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction results. ASCs are patient centered, physician driven, healthcare organizations that are better able to analyze trends, outcomes, and costs. 

ASCs that use data to make decisions in concert with physician leadership are well positioned to make the shift to value-based care when the time is right.

We still live in a fee for service world but as the shift to value-based care continues to grow, ASCs should be positioning themselves to capture those specific market trends that will allow them to be a part of the fabric of value based care.

I feel the challenge ASCs will face is that we are often just one piece of a larger plan of care and what we do is often episodic care and how does that translate into the larger value based structure.

This is where it gets complicated and ASCs will need to think about how they partner with primary care, specialty care and other providers in their community to improve outcomes and lower the cost of care.

ASCs and Payers will need to get creative in the coming years so we can continue to assist with bending the cost curve while improving outcomes. ASCs are appropriately positioned to meet the need.

Learn more from Mr.Patterson at the 24th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs in October 2017. Click here for more information.

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