Even as the number of patients scheduling elective surgeries returns to pre-COVID-19 levels, the pandemic will continue to have lasting effects on the industry.
Here are six ways COVID-19 will hamper ASC operations in 2022, based on conversations with ASC administrators and healthcare executives.
1. ASCs in areas where COVID-19 surges next year may need to temporarily divert resources to hospitals in need. New variants and continued resistance to the COVID-19 vaccine will drive surges in many communities.
2. Nurses and other healthcare workers hesitant to get vaccinated will remain out of the workforce, accelerating shortages.
3. Personal protective equipment and drug shortages are expected to continue next year as healthcare providers stockpile them in anticipation of future pandemics, worsening the existing global supply chain issues.
4. ASC supply costs and staff salary bumps are expected to remain high in the coming year. Some healthcare providers are opting to give large bonuses to employees instead of large raises to mitigate a steep increase in long-term staffing spend.
5. Global supply chain issues and materials shortages are hampering new construction projects nationwide, including new ASCs. Existing centers looking to expand square footage or build new locations should expect longer timelines from start to finish than in the past.
6. Many ASCs will continue to require patients to have a negative COVID-19 test before undergoing surgery.