Transparency in ASC pricing - Why and how does it help?

At the 21st Annual Becker's ASC Conference in Chicago on Oct. 24, Keith Smith, MD, Board-Certified Anesthesiologist and founder of the Oklahoma City-based Surgery Center of Oklahoma, revealed why transparency in ASC pricing is an absolute must.

"The healthcare industry in this country is a mess, it's a disaster, but ASCs can make a difference," said Dr. Smith.

According to Dr. Smith, there are two philosophies regarding healthcare pricing: what can be gotten away with and what the market can actually bear.

The "what can I get away with" mindset was characterized by Dr. Smith as such:

  • Conducive to hidden pricing and price gouging
  • A short-term solution
  • Unethical
  • Unsustainable
  • Typical of traditional hospital pricing

However, Dr. Smith, encourages ASCs to consider what the market can bear as a model to determine pricing. This model can be characterized as the following:

  • Conducive to transparency in pricing
  • A long-term, stable solution
  • Ethical and honest
  • Sustainable
  • Favorable to enhancing competition

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma uses the second pricing model by posting transparent and direct package pricing for procedures on the organization's website.

In regards to pricing, Dr. Smith suggests charging prices that emerge from the market and competitive activity, a methodology employed in nearly every industry in the country.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is able to keep costs affordable by not accepting government funds. Additionally, the center works with self-funded business and public sector employers who have a vested interest in referring patients to the surgery center since the low costs help them save money.

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