Why ASCs could beat inflation, per Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett, billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, made a projection at the company's annual shareholders meeting that bodes well for ASCs during times of high inflation.

"The best thing you can do is to be exceptionally good at something," he said, according to a CNBC report, noting that a skill in demand stays in demand regardless of inflation.

"Whatever abilities you have can't be taken away from you. They can't actually be inflated away from you," Mr. Buffett went on to say. "The best investment by far is anything that develops yourself, and it's not taxed at all."

Mr. Buffett's comments are good news for ASCs, especially focused-factor centers that have perfected a limited number of procedures. Single-specialty surgery centers have teams that perform the same procedures on a regular basis, making them better and more efficient than large hospital organizations where surgical teams rotate between specialties daily.

Even multispecialty centers are in a better position because they're high quality, low cost care settings. And the need for healthcare, even "elective" surgeries, won't go away. There were around 13.1 million surgical procedures performed in 2019 before the pandemic, according to a JAMA Network Open article. That number will likely increase with the aging population growing larger and as hospitals and health systems learn to maintain surgical volumes even during future surges.

Surgery centers are poised to benefit, especially if they provide a great patient experience and data to show insurers the benefit of incentivizing patients into the outpatient ASC. Employers looking for a better deal on healthcare spending for employees are also interested in what local surgery centers have to offer.

Mr. Buffett shared similar advice in 2009 as the Great Recession was ending, advising companies to invest in themselves. His second most important piece of advice is also something for ASC owners to keep in mind: Invest in a business that is in high demand regardless of the dollar strength, because people are willing to pay for what they like even during periods of inflation.

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