The ASC industry's 'last frontier'

The cardiovascular specialty might just be the ASC industry's next golden child. 

Steve Hockert, chief development officer of Solara Surgical Partners, spoke with Becker's to discuss what's on the horizon of cardiovascular ASCs.

Note: These responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What major trends are you seeing in the cardiovascular ASC space?

Steve Hockert: The major trend that I'm seeing today really is our clients or potential clients are calling us more about office-based labs to ASC conversions. So, there's been a high concentration of peripheral vascular work being done in the OBL environment and as of late, particularly the last six months, it seems as though we've got additional interest in space conversions for those entities that are currently functioning in an OBL setting.

Since 2020, that interest across the nation has rapidly increased predominantly due to the additional covered procedures allowed through CMS.

Q: How do you see cardiovascular ASCs growing in popularity over the next 10 years?

SH: I feel like the cardiovascular ASC space is one of the last frontiers if you will, from a specialty perspective, that is underserved in the ASC industry. So I feel over the next 10 years, you will see rapid growth in the sector. Most specifically, I feel like there will be health system interest perhaps beyond their level of interest historically in other specialty environments.

Q: What do you think has the potential to disrupt the cardiovascular ASC space?

SH: From a disruption standpoint, I think every ASC operator, particularly in the cardiovascular space as well as all specialties for that matter, we've got to be cognizant of outcomes data. We've got to be on the forefront of demonstrating safe care in the ASC environment. Given that the cardiovascular ASC space is relatively immature to the other specialties that are serviced in the ASC environment, I feel like should outcome data be presented in the future, that creates a high level of risk as it relates to patient safety and outcomes, that as an industry we have to be cognizant of that and be great stewards of the opportunity as it exists today in the service of cardiovascular care in the ASC environment.

Q: What do you feel is missing from the conversation about cardiovascular's place in the surgery center space?

SH: Based on our experience, one conversation that I feel like is missing is assimilation. What it takes to assimilate the service as an add-on service to an existing functioning ASC environment. There's not enough people talking about that. There are many folks out there with mature ASCs in the marketplace that have a great opportunity potentially to expand into the cardiovascular service line within the context of their existing business environment, although it can be quite laborious and there are a lot of clinical considerations. I feel like, at this point, there's not enough conversation happening around that issue.

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