3 specialties struggling to recover from the pandemic, according to one administrator


Some ASCs are still experiencing low case volumes more than a year after the onset of the pandemic.

Ed Downs, RN, is the regional administrator for Northwest Surgery Center Red Oak in Houston and the Memorial Hermann Surgery Center in Conroe, Texas. He spoke with Becker's ASC Review on which specialties he sees struggling to bounce back.

Question: Where are ASCs still struggling to recover over a year after the pandemic?

Ed Downs: In our market, we have several specialties that are slow to bounce back from the pandemic — all related to the pandemic, all for varying reasons. The hardest hit specialty was ENT due to school and day care being closed. Surgeries for tonsils and tubes are nonexistent. Our sinus procedures have increased; however, all of these patients are being tested prior to surgery and having to self-quarantine. Plastic surgery is another of our specialties. Folks do not have a disposable income and are deferring cosmetic procedures. Our ophthalmology cases have also been slow to respond — we are being told by our surgeons it is due to the logistics of getting patients to and from the office. 

Most of our surgeons pre-pandemic were seeing twice the number of patients than they are post-pandemic. Given that the majority of these cases are 65 and older, there appears to be a significant amount of apprehension on the patient's side. Less clinic patients equates to less surgeries.  

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