Andrew Lovewell, administrator and CEO of the Surgical Center at Columbia Orthopaedic Group in Columbia, Mo., joined Becker's to discuss the financial challenges facing ASCs.
Editor's note: This response was edited lightly for clarity and length.
Question: How is your ASC tackling financial challenges right now?
Andrew Lovewell: Our ASC is tackling financial challenges as we always have, head on. Given the challenges post-pandemic are quite similar to how they were during the pandemic, we are no stranger to the issues we face. Our biggest hurdles are staffing shortages by far and the financial implications that could potentially create. Luckily, we have a great physician board that is very motivated to add benefits for staff. For example, our physicians created a very robust comprehensive wellness plan that gives our staff an opportunity to get some money put in their HSA accounts. Granted, that does cost money, but it is a small cost to bear given the huge benefits we get from a healthy and engaged staff.
Another large financial challenge that we see today is the cost of goods purchased. What a box of gloves, [bandages], etc. cost two years ago isn't even similar to what it costs today. Coupling the trend of high-cost supplies and implants with governmental overreach and the lack of payment reform, I have great concerns for the future. The reimbursement gap between hospital outpatient departments and ASCs is paramount and needs to be addressed. One aspect where the federal government could get involved to impact change is with the distributors to assure that they do not over-markup supplies and implants.