What ASCs want hospitals to know

ASCs and hospitals in many markets have a complicated relationship, with some hospitals opposing surgery centers despite looking to invest in their own centers.

Shakeel Ahmed, MD, CEO of Atlas Surgical Group in St. Louis, joined Becker's to discuss what he wishes hospitals knew about ASCs and changes he would like to see to improve the relationship between the two. 

Editor's note: This interview was lightly edited lightly for clarity and length. 

Question: What's one thing you wish hospitals knew about ASCs?

Dr. Shakeel Ahmed: One of my favorite quotes is "Do the right thing, because that's the right thing to do," by Immanuel Kant. Hospitals will have to realize they have to do the right thing. Their bonuses are good because they managed to do it the way they always have, but allowing for ASCs to grow in their markets is the right thing to do. have. Now, some hospital systems are already jumping into the ASC game for sort of ulterior reasons.They will have to accept the fact that ASCs are what is needed to save healthcare money. 

Q: What needs to change to fix the "adversarial" relationship between ASCs and hospitals?

SA: There's multiple points from personal practice that apply here. The insurance contracts are swayed in favor of the hospitals. Hospitals are the big dogs in the area. They command the interest and fear of the insurance companies. I routinely see private insurance companies give us contracts that are 90% of Medicare, and some hospitals have contracts that are 200% of Medicare. Hospital-affiliated physicians need to be free from noncompetes. When the Federal Trade Commission's noncompete ban is enacted — taking that pressure off of the physicians and surgeons — the playing field will become level. The hospitals have this monopoly on specialized services, the high-end procedures, the more expensive ones, and they fight tooth and nail to keep them in house. The hospitals will have to realize this is just something that is not the right thing to do. 

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