Cardiology procedures the biggest opportunity for ASC growth, 4 leaders say

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As CMS continues to remove cardiology surgeries from its inpatient-only list, ASC leaders expect these procedures to be critical to ASC growth. 

Four ASC leaders joined Becker's Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC + The Future of Spine Conference hosted June 8-17. Here, they discuss the biggest opportunities for ASC growth post-pandemic. 

Editor's Note: This piece was edited lightly for clarity and brevity. 

Question: Five years down the line, where are the biggest opportunities for ASC growth? 

Chhaya Patel, MD. Medical Director of Satellite Boulevard Outpatient Surgery Center (Duluth, Ga.): I think we're going to see a lot of the electrophysiology procedures, cardiology procedures and sicker patients [moving to ASCs] as anesthesiologists and surgeons work together and collaborate on patient care. We're really pushing the envelope on bringing patients that used to be performed only at the hospital. We can take care of them in a safe and efficient manner at a surgery center. We're providing good quality of patient care at the surgery center for patients that would not have qualified as a candidate for a surgery center. 

Randy Reynolds, CPA, CASC. Senior Vice President of Field Operations for HealthCrest Surgical Partners (Edmond, Okla.): I do see cardiology as a trend there as well. We're putting in stationary catheterization labs in some of our existing centers, and then in some of our other centers that we're developing. I agree cardiology is probably the biggest thing coming forth, especially with all the codes that CMS has added to the list. 

Obviously spines and joints are still great. Payer contracting there is very important. If you don't have a contract that's linked to Medicare directly, you're going to have to go in there and refine the codes that aren't in there that may default to an amount that's totally unreasonable for what you need to do the case. 

Lianne McDowell, CASC. CEO and Administrator of South Portland Surgical Center (Tualatin, Ore.): I also think cardiac procedures are the biggest opportunities for growth. Also, as we see more and more Medicare patients, I noticed that our Medicare payer mix is increasing more and more. What I've seen in my market is there's been a push towards specialty ASCs, marketed as total joint ASCs or ASCs with robotics. 

Greg DeConciliis, CASC. Administrator of Boston Out-Patient Surgical Suites: As we are bringing more joint surgeons and spine surgeons into those procedures, you have to look at it like a new group of surgeons invested in your center. The markets are kind of saturated, at least depending where you are. Adding surgeons or a whole new service line is an opportunity for investment in your center both financially and also mentally. I think that opens up more doors for you.

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