Business Strategies for Spine in Outpatient Surgery Centers

At the 18th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference in Chicago on Oct. 27, Jeff Leland, CEO of Blue Chip Surgical, gave a presentation titled "Business Planning for Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Spine Driven Centers."

Mr. Leland discussed the challenges and opportunities for bringing spine surgery into an existing ASC as well as creating a new spine-focused surgery center. A slow trend toward bringing spine cases into the outpatient surgery center setting has been made possible by developments in surgical technology and anesthesia. In the future, Mr. Leland sees more spine surgeons taking their cases outpatient as they become more comfortable with the setting to lower the cost of spine care.

"Everything is lining up to support the idea that spine makes a whole lot of sense in surgery centers," he said. "Projects bringing spine into surgery centers or creating spine ASCs are becoming very valuable."

Currently, surgeons at Blue Chip centers are performing laminectomies, discectomies, single-level anterior cervical discectomies with fusion and pain procedures on a regular basis. A few surgeons are performing lumbar and interbody fusions as well. The case volume for spine procedures is typically 50-110 cases per year brought to the ASC.

One of the biggest challenges for ASCs looking to add spine cases is contract negotiations. Mr. Leland discussed several key ways to overcome these challenges and stressed that diverting discussions from normal payor contacts to someone higher up in the company is crucial to the success of the negotiation.

"We talk to people in the programs who appreciate what we do — save them around $30,000 per case," says Mr. Leland. "If you want to negotiate spine contracts in an ASC, you might have to go around the person you've been dealing with."

Related Articles on ASCs:

Central Piedmont Surgery Center to Open in North Carolina Next Week
7 Traits to Make Your Surgery Center More Attractive to Physicians

What are the Most Common Surgery Center Subspecialties?

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