Why orthopedics is the golden ticket for ASCs

Orthopedics may be ASCs' best option for running a profitable and successful center.

Orthopedics is the most common specialty for ASCs in 2022, according to March data from the ASC Association, meaning many surgery centers have already begun to unlock the benefits of the specialty. So what are the advantages of incorporating orthopedics at an ASC?

One advantage is the amount of revenue the specialty brings in. Orthopedic surgeries bring in more revenue than any other specialty nationwide, according to VMG Health's "Multi-Specialty ASC Benchmarking Study" for 2022.

Another benefit is high reimbursements. Orthopedic cases offer the highest reimbursements to ASCs, according to the same study.

"Reimbursement for orthopedic cases could always be better, but as reimbursement goes, it is better than several other specialties, making it an attractive specialty to offer at an ASC," John Ryan, CEO of OrthoIndy in Indianapolis, told Becker's July 5.

With higher reimbursements comes greater financial stability for the center.

"I am likely stating the obvious when I say that ASCs with meaningful orthopedic volume stand a much better chance of financial viability and sustainability than those [without]. While it is absolutely possible for an ASC to be financially successful without orthopedics, those ASCs with orthopedic procedure volume at or above 25 percent have a far clearer path to navigate the other economic pressures on an ASC's financial health," Mr. Ryan said.

As orthopedics is shifting away from being performed strictly in hospitals, ASCs have the opportunity to cash in on the specialty, and some have already seen great success.

"Spine and joint replacement services have historically been performed predominantly in the hospital setting mingled with the wide range of surgical specialties that span well beyond orthopedics. At Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic, these services now reflect 75 percent [of cases] plus outpatient case mix," Michael Boblitz, CEO of Tallahassee (Fla.) Orthopedic Clinic, told Becker's July 28.

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