The avoidable ASC-killer eroding centers today

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One of the biggest threats to many ASCs today is the staff's lack of operational and financial knowledge about the center.

Tracy Helmer, BSN, RN, administrator of Seven Hills ASC in Las Vegas, coined the term "economic ignorance" and sees it as an internal threat.

"[Economic ignorance] is a phenomenon where staff are not always aware of the financial needs for efficiency and prudent use of supplies, implants, etc., required to keep the ASC profitable in an environment where reimbursement is so much lower," she said. "Transparency and education of staff helps them learn how to provide excellent care in a cost-effective manner for our patients."

Administrators can also fall prey to economic ignorance, Taylor Burnett, CEO of the Plastic Surgical Center of Mississippi in Flowood, said. She has seen the issue first hand during consulting work with centers where management doesn't understand costs and reimbursements. These centers also often don't have dedicated staff to manage supply costs and reimbursement updates.

"I also see a failure to value assets, including staff, on the subject," she said. "The cost to hire, orient and train new staff is staggering. Keep and value what you have. Good staff can 100 percent make or break you."

The cost constraints for many ASCs have become more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic after centers adjusted to new protocols to safely perform elective procedures. Melissa Hermanson, MSN, RN, CASC, administrator of Ambulatory Care Center in New Jersey, said her center's financial recovery from the pandemic depends on efficiently using resources and containing costs.

"Our administrative teams will need to continue to be creative in allocating resources, financial and human, to maximize efficiencies," she said.

Click here to read more about internal issues threatening ASCs.

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