Amar Setty, MD, CEO of Baltimore-based Patient Premier, joined Becker's ASC Review to discuss President Joe Biden's performance in the last year.
Question: What grade would you give President Joe Biden's performance in the last year?
Dr. Amar Setty: In general, presidents have less impact on policy than most people believe. In the setting of a global pandemic, however, President Biden has had policies which have both supported and hindered the growth of ASC volume. In sum, there is increasing volume, increasing cost and greater payment uncertainty.
Here are some effects of the administration on ASCs:
- Supply shortages: The fragile supply chain for pharmaceuticals led to frequent and unpredictable drug shortages for years. COVID-19-related supply shocks have been equally profound from syringes, needles and fluids, disposables, oxygen, etc. Shortages are leading to price increases. We are dealing with delays, cancellations and a lot of stress. The administration could do more to stimulate supply through policies to increase supplies.
- "Site neutral" payment policies could accelerate volume growth. Instead, CMS has recently restored the inpatient-only list, moving volume from ASCs to hospitals.
- While important for public health, vaccination mandates for healthcare workers have shrunk the pool of available labor, which drives up costs.
- Expansion of public health insurance coverage under the American Rescue Plan and greater employment increase the pool of people who can have elective procedures and increase demand.
- Vaccinations and greater testing availability are increasing elective surgical volume rather than focusing resources on COVID-related illness. ASCs are perceived as safer than hospitals since they do not also have patients acutely ill with COVID-related illness.
I would give President Biden a "B."