ASCs share 2021 accomplishments and lessons learned, 2022 goals

As we approach the end of 2021, it's time to reflect on the year that was while looking forward to the year that will be. To learn about the 2021 experiences and 2022 objectives of ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) throughout the country, we did what we have done every year for the past five years: reached out to the users of "The Note Pad," an online community of surgery center professionals exclusively for Surgical Notes clients, and asked them to share their thoughts. Once again, they came through with some terrific perspectives and insight.

The following represent a selection of responses we received from ASCs. Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and style.

Q: What is an accomplishment your ASC achieved in 2021 that stands out?

• "We found success with physician recruiting and now have an even stronger clinical team."
• "We purchased the location to build our new ASC so that we own the property outright instead of renting the space. We've also entered negotiations to purchase the majority share of another ASC."
• "We broke our record for number of surgeries performed — and we did it with the same number of staff."
• "We started a total joint program and added a da Vinci robot."
• "We added a few surgeons to our center. They are helping us grow our case volume and capture the procedures leaving the inpatient environment."
• "We achieved accreditation. It was a great accomplishment for the entire center."
• "We made the top 5 percent in Newsweek's 'America's Best Ambulatory Surgery Centers' list."

Q: What is one lesson your ASC learned in 2021?

• "Probably the same as a lot of centers: Do more with less. One way we're trying to do just that is through creative scheduling that allows us to safely perform more procedures without extending our hours or adding staff."
• "Nothing ever goes as planned, so have several backup plans."
• "During a pandemic, patience and empathy are more necessary than ever."
• "It takes a village…"
• "Patience is a key for success in everything we do."
• "Keeping current on regulations must always be a priority."
• "Things will turn out okay. We just need to look for the light at the end of the tunnel."

Q: What goals does your ASC have for 2022?

• "We plan to continue recruiting new surgeons and staff, strengthen our succession planning, and possibly add an EHR."
• "Open our new ASC and sign the deal to purchase a share in the existing ASC. Also, we want to earn Joint Commission accreditation for both centers."
• "Keep growing by adding locations and physicians, and continue to earn great patient satisfaction scores."
• "To continue to grow financially and add more service lines to help our community."
• "Take advantage of the opportunities that exist for us to continue adding more cases."
• "We're going to work to get ahead of surveyors and avoid gaps in our required processes."

We appreciate our ASC clients taking the time to participate in this annual survey. We are also grateful for our clients — and all surgery centers — for their enduring efforts to deliver high-quality, lower-cost surgical care to patients nationwide. Surgical Notes will continue to support its clients and the ASC industry as we continue to navigate the pandemic and strive to make 2022 our best year yet.

Randy Bishop (rbishop@surgicalnotes.com) is president and chief executive officer for Surgical Notes. Surgical Notes is a nationwide provider of ASC billing solutions, including, transcription, coding, revenue cycle management (RCM), and document management applications for the ASC and surgical hospital markets.

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