For Dianna Reed, administrator of Templeton, Calif.-based Sani Eye Surgery Center, ASCs' bright future hinges on their ability to save patients and physicians time.
Ms. Reed spoke with Becker's about ASCs' biggest obstacles to providing patient care and signs pointing to their bright future.
Editor's note: This interview was edited lightly for clarity and brevity.
Question: What signs point to a bright future for ASCs?
Dianna Reed: With the continued rising cost of patient care in the hospital setting, ASCs have become many insurance companies' preference for outpatient surgery. In the ASC setting, we are able to greatly reduce the time spent at the ASC, which in turn reduces the following:
- Patient unhappiness with care because of lengthy wait times for surgery and postoperative waiting for discharge by doctor
- For cataract surgery, our patient is typically here for less than an hour. For a cornea transplant, 90 minutes. Hospital surgery center wait times are two to three times greater in our area
- Patient admission to hospital due to increases in blood pressure, blood sugar, anxiety, postoperative pain and much more
- Patient postoperative infections, greater exposure to other patients
- Costs to patient and insurance companies
Q: What is an ASC's biggest enemy in providing patient care?
DR: Our biggest enemy is not being able to purchase supplies — both pharmaceutical and surgical packs, etc. — at a competitive price point. It is very difficult to compete, especially during COVID-19, for personal protective equipment and supplies against large hospital surgery centers who have a larger buying power. Staffing can be difficult for registered nurses and certified registered nurse anesthetists since we are only open one day a week, but I have resolved this by paying upward of $25 per hour more than local hospitals. This has helped us attract per diem staff who only wish to work one day per week. Another downside to being an ASC is the reimbursement from insurance companies. We are paid a fourth of what a hospital surgery center is paid, and our costs are actually more.