Total joint procedures drawing patients to surgery centers, ASC chain CEO says

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more patients towards total joint and spine procedures in ASCs, according to Darin Hill, CEO of Raleigh, N.C.-based Compass Surgical Partners. 

Mr. Hill joined Becker's to discuss what's drawing patients to ASCs, and the biggest obstacles he's facing in his day-to-day

Editor's note: This interview was edited lightly for length and clarity. 

Question: What is drawing patients to ASCs over hospitals right now?

Mr. Darin Hill: The COVID-19 pandemic opened patients' eyes to the fact that high-quality surgery can be performed safely in an outpatient setting. In particular, at Compass centers, the notable change has been our total joint replacement and spine surgery patients are now requesting cases to be performed on an outpatient basis. Pre-pandemic, our providers would have to explain that joints can be safely performed in outpatient centers. Now, many patients ask for outpatient joint replacement surgery. COVID-19 didn’t create the outpatient migration demand, but certainly accelerated the shift.

Q: What is the biggest obstacle you're facing in your day-to-day, and how are you addressing it?

DH: We have two. For our operational ASCs, staffing continues to be our biggest challenge.    The recent pandemic put a significant toll on healthcare workers that is still materially affecting our businesses today. We’ve taken proactive steps to recruit more creatively and be much more aggressive in retention efforts, including both compensation, total rewards and work experience.   For our centers under construction, we are tightly managing our supply chain to ensure we can open on time and on budget. The most challenging items have been securing generators in a timely manner, so we’ve creatively attacked that problem. Right now, all of our projects are on schedule, but it’s taking significant more internal management time to keep them on track.

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