3 ASC leaders forecast 2020 business trends

Three 2020 business trend predictions from ASC leaders:

1. Cami Love, administrator at the Arkansas Specialty Surgery Center in Little Rock:

"I think [total joints are] something that's going to continue to grow. Our first total joint procedure was a knee. We've already started on the process to do shoulders. And then the next thing we'll tackle will be hips. I really think starting a successful total joint program will help with getting carve-outs from other insurance providers as well. Then that will pave the way for more ASCs to do it and have good results.

We're in a very low reimbursement state. We were a little disappointed that Medicare's reimbursement was low for total joints. Something we're constantly working on in Arkansas is to get better reimbursement for orthopedic procedures that have a lot of implants and disposables which are bundled. We're trying to get more carve-out to help cover some of the big, expensive supply-heavy cases that are cost-prohibitive due to reimbursement."

2. Anthony Giuffrida, MD, director of interventional spine and sports at Cantor Spine Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.:

"The ASC is where medicine is going. The cost of being in the hospital is just too great to sustain. A three-level fusion and a few days in the hospital costs the healthcare system upward of $70,000 to $100,000. A three-level Intracept procedure will cost $10,000 to $15,000 in the outpatient setting. We're cutting costs in the ASC by over 50 percent. If we can make the process easier and less painful for the patient and decrease cost, that's a win all around.

There's going to be a huge push for outpatient surgery the next five years, and we're going to see great things from it. The one thing we have to remember is we have to keep safety in mind always. You have to pick the right patients."

3. Scott Fowler, MD, president and CEO of Holston Medical Group:

"The business of medicine is moving to outpatient. Many health systems are generating a lot of their revenue from outpatient service lines, and many hospitals and health systems shifted service lines from inpatient to outpatient. Part of that is because the revenues received in the outpatient marketplace are high enough and maintainable. That said, consolidation of hospital systems gives ASCs more market power and control of the outpatient market space — which is the market of the present and future.

For example, in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee, hospitals began partnering in outpatient settings with some national payer-related management companies. By doing this, higher rates are impacting the community, more than what was previously being charged in the outpatient marketplace — making inpatient facilities more competitive in terms of pricing and keeping the overall price high."

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