How ASC volumes are rebounding: 6 insights

Elective and non-urgent healthcare services came to a screeching halt across the country due to COVID-19, but many facilities have now resumed those cases.

Six insights on how volumes are bouncing back:

1. Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare gave an investor's update June 16, saying its ASCs have reached 85 percent of pre-pandemic patient volumes through the first half of June.

2. Charleston (W.Va.) Area Medical Center resumed elective procedures but hasn't seen patient volumes return as quickly as anticipated. CAMC President and CEO Dave Ramsey said the hospital's no-visitation policy could be partially to blame.

3. In late May, Matthew Ewasko, administrator of Physicians Alliance Surgery Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo., estimated it would take three to six months for all of the center's specialties to reach normal operating levels.

"With physicians' offices being closed, or having reduced hours for the past two months, the referral base is very low," he said.

4. In early May, Centers for Gastroenterology Administrator Jim Laborde said the group's Colorado practices in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley were seeing their surgical schedules rebound. However, there were difficulties getting patient medical histories from primary care physicians managing COVID-19 patients, which caused delays.

5. Patient fears are affecting volumes. Patients have been "leery" about returning to Fort Collins-based Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies for procedures, even in cases of severe pain or when a condition could worsen.

6. Benjamin Domb, MD, founder and medical director of the American Hip Institute & Orthopedic Specialists in Des Plaines, Ill., said the practice expected to perform twice as many surgeries as normal in May and June to accommodate patients whose care was delayed. As volumes rise, he said, cases should be prioritized based on how further delay could affect the patient's health.

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