Study: COVID-19 measures 'significantly impacted labor and supply expenses' in ASCs

Ophthalmic ASCs saw a sharp rise in expenditure due to the use of personal protective equipment and other COVID-19-related practices, according to a recent study conducted by Progressive Surgical Solutions, a division of BSM Consulting.

Using a tracking tool provided by Progressive Surgical Solutions, ASC clients across the U.S. reported their PPE-related costs for the first six months of 2020, including:

  • Supplies (e.g., masks, caps, gloves, disinfectant and thermometers)
  • Labor costs (e.g., staff taking temperatures and making preoperative screening calls)
  • COVID-related structural fees (e.g., barriers, plexiglass and signage)

Three key findings:

1. In January and February, PPE costs per case averaged $3.69 to $4.16. PPE costs per case averaged $14.06 to $17.99 in March through June, when the pandemic was underway.

2. PPE-related labor costs increased by an average of $4,025 per month.

3. If ASCs continue engaging in practices such as taking temperatures at the front door and screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms preoperatively are sustained, the average ASC could lose about $50,000 a year.

"It is clear that the implementation of COVID-related infection controls has significantly impacted labor and supply expenses, adding further financial strain to centers," wrote Progressive Surgical Solutions' Nancy Stephens and Regina Boore on Oct. 14. "As they continue to monitor these ongoing expenses, ASC leaders and owners must remain aware of their impact and be proactively evaluating all other controllable costs. Once the overall financial results of the past six months are confirmed, owners will likely see the inevitable reductions on net income and available cash."

More articles on surgery centers:
10 most-read ASC stories — How ASC leaders are thinking about a COVID-19 vaccine
Mayo Clinic in Wisconsin implements COVID-19-related visitor restrictions
Pennsylvania health system activates surge plan for mounting COVID-19 cases

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