Five surgeons and ASC owners talk share how they're thinking about growth and investments in the next two years.
Annu Navani, MD. Founder and CEO of Comprehensive Spine & Sports Medicine Center (Campbell, Calf.): The growth in orthopedics, spine and pain has been steady and will remain so. These are safe specialties, as the need is always there and will continue to thrive for various reasons. First, they offer a vast spectrum of services, many of which can be administered via telehealth. In addition, there is a trend to drift toward minimally invasive surgeries that can be performed in nonhospital-based outpatient facilities like ASCs or in-office procedure suites that are less regulated and less likely to shut down during a surge of the pandemic. This has led to quite a bit of interest in investment in these specialties.
Zeeshan Tayeb, MD. Owner of Pain Specialists of Cincinnati: I think, as private practitioners, we used to consider investing in healthcare, but right now, it's not necessarily the hot thing to do. However, I think a big investment would be that people now offer services to help run your practice, run your company or companies or whatnot, or at least offer assistance at some of those levels. I have been networking with a couple of different groups right now to try to get more help at a higher level. But again, that face might look different as these next three, six and 12 months.
Jeremy Statton, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at Arthritis & Total Joint Specialist (Atlanta): Our biggest investments right now are in people. The ability to hire good people and keep them has changed immensely over the last two years. We used to take outstanding staff for granted, and now that has changed. We are working on finding new ways to show our staff how much we appreciate them. Our ASC can't compete with the kind of pay travelers get today, so we have to find other ways to show appreciation. We will definitely continue to expand our push into the ASC by moving our current hospital cases and opening new surgery centers. Still, without the right people, these efforts will not work.
Lauren Matteini, MD, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at Fox Valley Orthopedics (Geneva, Ill.): We're working to grow as an organization. We're hiring staff, of course, but we're also investing in other ways to make sure we can offer our patients a full spectrum of care. We're expanding our practice to include physical therapy and urgent care options in each office. Our offices themselves are growing to accommodate more docs, expand our specialties, and offer our patients a wider field that includes some preventive care options — helping patients optimize their physical health before they need our skills as surgeons.
Robert S. Bray, Jr., MD, DISC Sports & Spine Center (Newport Beach, Calif.): The investment and growth will be a strategic expansion, aligning the incentive with the insurance companies and getting regional contracts. We're expanding our contracting ability over the next three or four months into every major insurer. The goal will be to go outside of our market here.
The most exciting thing is our new partnership with Chicago Pacific Founders to expand on DISC's work. They're bringing their business expertise in healthcare and their relationships with the payers. The financial plan to make it go forward is a successful venture. We're fortunate to have hired a new CEO to lead the parent company, Trias Holdings, Jim Becker. Jim brings over 35 years of business leadership experience.
Also, we'll spend a lot of time building our analytic services, which support our goals and our triple aim, including bettering quality outcomes, improving patient satisfaction, and improving cost. Our AI analytic tool shows up to a 50 percent reduction in the cost of the event care yet shows a higher-quality outcome and fewer complications, so improving care and containing costs are all in the same plan. We want to continue to provide our enhanced work for the physicians as they come in and join DISC. And beyond that, we're looking to continue expanding our centers. Our second ASC is under construction and we're looking to have five to six centers operational in Southern California and then going out regionally past that. But we're looking at five to six centers open in the next couple of years.