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The best opportunity to improve ASC profitability in 2-3 years from 5 ASC administrators

Five ASC administrators discuss the biggest opportunity for improved profitability at their centers in the future.

Loren Kennett. Administrator and DON for Zion Eye Institute and Zion Surgery Center (St. George, Utah): Our greatest opportunity for the future is bringing on more surgeons and specialties. We are pushing our capacity, and the hope and dream is to build another facility to accommodate the physicians who want to buy into the surgical center. The community is continuing to grow and the patient population is expanding exponentially. The market is wide open and to capitalize on the growth is our biggest opportunity in the next two to three years.

Benita Tapia. Administrator of 90210 Surgery Medical Center (Beverly Hills, Calif.): Anticipating the changing landscape of value-based care. Keeping costs down, for example trying to have surgeons use the same vendor for implants, etc. Volume allows for you to have increased buying power, so it's important to maintain and increase volume. Surgeons taking blocked time can help with staffing costs.

Catherine Ruppe, RN CASC. Executive Director of Proliance Highlands Surgery Center (Issaquah, Wash.), Overlake Surgery Center (Bellevue, Wash.) and Redmond (Wash.) Surgery Center: We are really working on migration of outpatient joint and spine from the inpatient arena. We are looking at having our own bundles as well. A clinical outcomes nurse is looking at cases done at the hospital and figuring out why the surgeons performed them at the hospital and whether those cases could be done in an ASC.

Andy Poole. CEO of Monticello Community Surgery Center (Charlottesville, Va.): Obviously, joints and spine offer a huge opportunity for ASC’s, and that's what our center is focused on as well. For us, we've got a relationship with a spine group and certainly as you see more procedures pushed out of the hospital, we anticipate additional spine cases coming our way. We are still in the planning phases for total joints right now.

We also see the increased demand for both price and quality transparency as a source of growth opportunity. Patients with high deductibles and companies funding plans will want to know there their health care dollars go, and I believe will be more savvy shoppers for care. Our goal is to make it easy for those patients to find us and have the best service offerings available for them.

Lori Tamburo, CASC. Administrator of Foothills Surgery Center (Boulder, Colo.): Over the next two to three years, our ASC will be focusing on utilization of case-costing data to drive improved profitability. Pinnacle III employs a data analyst to provide detailed case-costing data to each facility they manage. This data allows administrators to identify areas where there are substantial variances between surgeons in the same specialty performing like-surgery.

Engaging surgeons and educating them about things like the impact of operating room minutes to their profitability as well as how their supply and implant costs compare to their peers will be significant in maintaining and achieving greater profitability. Standardization of supply will be an ongoing initiative, which we are currently beginning to focus on. Continuing to manage vendor contracts closely and taking advantage of the benefit the management company (Pinnacle III) brings to aggregate contracts will also be key.

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