Why 9 of 15 Newsweek top ASCs of 2021 are in California: Q&A with Elizabeth LaBouyer

Nine out of Newsweek's 15 best ASCs in America in 2021 were in California. Becker's ASC Review spoke with Elizabeth LaBouyer, RN, the executive director of the California Ambulatory Surgery Association, on the state's success. 

Newsweek partnered with consumer research company Statista to develop the list, highlighting 400 centers in 25 states. The partners surveyed participants to measure quality of care, performance data and peer recommendations in relation to competition within each state. 

Here are three reasons Ms. LaBouyer thinks California ASCs have been successful:

1. COVID-19 response

Ms. LaBouyer noted that ASCs in California played an important role in the COVID-19 response efforts at the local and state level. 

ASCs worked with county officials to share COVID-19 case counts and available resources, including staff and equipment. At the state level, CASA worked with the California Department of Public Health to gather and share information. 

CASA also held briefing webinars with breakout sessions that allowed ASCs across the state to talk through information and share ideas. 

"This helped ASCs be nimble and responsive to the rapidly changing medical environment and the rapidly changing rules," she said. 

2. Relationships

California ASCs' high-quality care in an efficient setting is attractive to physicians and healthcare providers as they determine what are appropriate or desirable sites of care for their patients, Ms. LaBouyer said. This creates positive relationships with physicians and healthcare providers. 

"Particularly through the challenges of COVID-19, ASCs have proven to be agile and to work well with physicians and nurses," she said. "The business operations of ASCs paired with their outstanding patient outcomes have combined to consistently earn them praise and referrals from the physician community."

3. Quality metrics

California ASCs use a multifaceted approach to quality metrics, Ms. LaBouyer said. From the bottom up, she sees a culture embedded at ASC facilities focused on giving the best patient care possible to prove their value and build patient confidence. 

From the top down, CASA works to consistently reinforce the importance of quality metrics through messages, conferences and virtual education opportunities. The association also shares benchmarking data. 

"Once ASCs are set up to regularly measure outcomes like falls, burns, wrong-site surgery, hospital transfers and infection rates, they can then use those systems to reinforce a staff culture and facility culture that drives successful patient outcomes and significantly reduces any bad outcomes," she said. 

CASA expects to see more procedures move into ASCs, payers prioritizing ASC settings and patients making the choice to receive their care at ASCs in the next few years. 

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