What CMS approving total shoulder replacements means for ASCs 

Anupam Pradhan, MD, chair of orthopedic surgery at Dallas-based Southwest Joint Replacement and Sports Medicine, joined Becker's to discuss payer and economic trends affecting ASC growth. 

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

Question: What payer trend is affecting ASCs the most right now?

Dr. Anupam Pradhan: As a surgeon who does a lot of shoulder arthroplasty, one of the highlights of this last year was having CMS approve shoulder arthroplasty for ambulatory surgery. When I think of my patient population, I see my patients recovering from shoulder replacement similarly to total knee and total hip replacement. The one advantage they have over patients that have lower extremity arthroplasty is that they can still walk and be mobile, which helps them be better candidates for outpatient surgery. I think the change was appropriate and probably overdue. This will help drive some of those patients to an outpatient setting.

Q: How will a potential economic downturn affect ambulatory growth this year?

AP: There is still a lot to be played out. Interest rates were high and began coming down at the end of last year but seem to have stabilized. It'll be interesting to see where they go and how that affects the economy overall. I think the Fed seems to be slowing down on their anti-inflationary policy, and that usually is good for the economy. CMS still drives a lot of the decision-making as to what can get taken to ambulatory surgery. They recently approved shoulder replacement for accepted outpatient procedure codes, and this should help drive more to surgery centers in general. Hopefully we see at least stable to slight growth for ambulatory surgery in general.

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