ASCs continue to rise in national prominence as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated migration of procedures to the outpatient setting.
Despite the prominent growth, ASCs still face threats from thin profit margins and payer reimbursement.
Here, two ASC administrators shared insights into what they viewed as the biggest threat to ASCs today:
Note: Responses were edited for style and content.
Earl Anderson, CEO of Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics in Knoxville: Without a doubt, the greatest threat to ASCs is the inability of leadership to change the culture to allow expansion of service lines and to flex with payer strategies. In orthopedics, ASCs must be nimble enough to accommodate cases such as total joints and certain spine procedures. This involves making physical changes, like expanding operating room size, staffing adjustments, and working with physician partners and payers to initiate creative, value-based payment models that benefit the patient, providers and payers. Physician groups such as ours are also developing methods by which we identify the appropriate ASC surgical candidates. So, in actuality, the greatest threat actually provides the greatest opportunities, and ASCs must prepare to take advantage of them.
Kim Halladay, DPM, administrator at NorthPointe Surgical Center in Tooele, Utah: Underpayment for the amount of money we are saving insurance companies. Medicare has documented that ASCs saved them $4.6 billion from 2016 to 2020, yet we have to run at such a thin margin that it threatens our future.
What do you think is the biggest threat to ASCs today? Email Eric Oliver at email@example.com.