The 'gold rush' of outpatient cardiology

Philip Blair, CEO of Surgery Center Services of America, spoke with Becker's about ASC companies' biggest growth focus and why cardiology is so important for ASCs. 

Question: What is Surgery Center Services of America's biggest growth focus in the next five years? 

Editor's note: This response was edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

Philip Blair: Given that reimbursements have been increasing in general, some procedures have a more profitable facility fee setting in an ASC. Obviously, cardio and orthopedics are a big deal. We've seen a huge push especially in the last couple years during COVID-19 — ASCs with catheterization labs and with office-based lab hybrid models. That's a huge push. 

A lot of cardiologists are out there trying to protect their practice, their referral patterns, and make sure that everything stays in house and picking up procedures out of the hospital or maybe other ASCs. That's a huge deal. So I would say my big focus is cardiology. 

Some states unfortunately still don't allow ASCs with catheterizations to be owned by a physician — California is one of them, Ohio is one of them, New York is another. Pennsylvania made a huge clinical executive ruling recently. The governor made an executive review that took a look at all the procedures being done in an outpatient setting and, essentially, anything that's been done around the country that can be done in an outpatient setting, you know, they are refocusing and allowing it to happen to Pennsylvania.

Now there's a huge push I'm calling the gold rush. A lot of cardiology groups are just rushing to get their projects done in Pennsylvania. We're doing our first cardiology project up in Pennsylvania, and it's going to just completely go crazy. So our big focus is really tackling the catheterization model. 

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