Reimbursement, bundled payments, consolidation & more: 4 experts explain key trends in the ASC market

As the healthcare landscape continues to shift towards value-based care, ambulatory surgery centers are uniquely poised to control costs.

Four industry leaders discussed major trends in the ASC market during a keynote panel at Becker's ASC 25th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs, Oct. 18-20 in Chicago.

Panelists included:

  • James Leavitt, MD, president of Miami-based Gastro Health
  • Jonathan Kaplan, MD, founder and CEO of BuildMyBod Health and board-certified plastic surgeon at San Francisco-based Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery
  • Lisa Rock, president of National Medical Billing Services
  • Julie Camardella, BSN, CEO of The Surgery Center of Chesapeake (Va.)

Here are key quotes from the discussion:

Dr. James Leavitt: We're not seeing a shrinkage in the number of things we can do in ASCs, [rather,] we're seeing an increase because we need to control costs.

Gastro Health's strategy is to try to grow our regional clout; we look to grow in the areas that are fragmented. The pace of consolidation is going to increase, but it depends on geographic area.

Lisa Rock: We're seeing more activity in the joint venture arena, [as] quite a number of hospital systems have moved into the surgery center market in the last couple of years.

We're also seeing a lot of change in the types of cases coming into outpatient surgery centers. We see more Recovery Audit Contractor-audited activity with specialty sections, so good documentation is crucial.

The biggest trend is that there is an employer-driven market. We've seen a lot of discussion about bundled payments and consolidation, but we really haven't seen anything out there that addresses the quality of the surgical experience. That's what you really need to survive as an independent practice.

Dr. Jonathan Kaplan: You have to differentiate yourself to survive as an independent physician. There's an important distinction between being independent as a solo physician versus being independent as a physician who is not employed by a health system.

Julie Camardella: There's a focus on replenishing aging physicians and growing in areas like total joints and cardiac, but we've found that the market may not be ready to do that yet. Everyone's always trying to thread the needle of costs and reimbursements.

Be very clear with what risks you're willing to accept when looking to accept higher acuity cases.

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