This 1 issue affects all aspects of a spine surgeon's practice 

Todd Lansford, MD, serves as a spine surgeon for Charleston-based South Carolina Sports Medicine. 

Dr. Lansford will serve on the panel "Payer Behavior: The Good, Bad and Intriguing Trends for Spine and ASCs" at Becker's 19th Annual Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place in Chicago from June 16-18. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Question: What issues are you spending most of your time on today?

Dr. Todd Lansford: Thankfully, I spend most of my time focused on patient care. But the issues that bring me the most annoyance would most certainly be insurance authorization. As the goal line moves, it becomes challenging to know what they want.  

Q: What are your top challenges and how will they change over the next 12 months?

TL: The top challenge I face would be staffing! What is a new issue these last few years is certainly employee retention! It has been especially challenging with COVID-19. This is a compounding issue because losing good employees makes others work harder and burn out. This affects all aspects of my practice, from new patient referrals or surgery scheduling to OR staffing. I hope this stabilizes as we return to normalcy and can continue to build amazing teams. 

Q: How are you thinking about investments and growth in the next two years?

TL: The next two years are still full of uncertainty. We hope to be out of this craziness of the last two years, but one is never certain. We cannot count on a continued increase in volume, but one can always invest in land and clinic space. There will always be a limit on land, and it continues to be a stable investment in these unstable times. 

Q: What are you most excited about right now?  

TL: I am most excited about continued technological advancements in the world of spine surgery. This includes new innovations in hardware with improved titanium expandable cages. As cages are better designed, they allow for more reproducible outcomes and improved patient quality of life. The new innovations also include biologics and pharmacology. We better understand what biologics are needed for fusion, especially with better hardware. Furthermore, we can better manage post-op patients with improved injectables and non-narcotic treatment paradigms. All of these advancements lead to improved patient outcomes, especially in surgical centers. 

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