Supply chain issues, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, are still hurting ASCs' bottom line.
Michelle Eilander, RN, administrative director of Ankeny (Iowa) Medical Park Surgery Center, joined Becker's to discuss smart ASC leadership and financial issues.
Editor's note: This response was edited lightly for brevity and clarity.
Question: What's losing ASCs money right now?
Michelle Eilander: Supplies, supplies, supplies. Everything seems to have inflated prices and the supply chain problems, including back orders, are cutting into the profit for ASCs. There are many times that we have to order a higher-priced item due to the back order of the regular-used item. There also have been times that we had to order from multiple vendors, and then we get the items all at once and now have a surplus sitting on our shelves. It is a continual struggle since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: What are smart ASC leaders doing right now?
Michelle Eilander: Being flexible with staffing arrangements and showing staff appreciation. Staffing can be a struggle at times, and the new generation that is entering or has recently entered the working world want flexibility. Also, ASC leaders need to know case-costing specifics to be able to make sure that the procedures that are being performed are actual procedures that are profitable. In addition, the utilization of block time is very important and can be tweaked by using reports that show actual times for primary procedures and adjusting times as needed. If the actual procedure times are scheduled correctly, it can decrease patient wait times and prevent staff working overtime, which can lead to burnout; or on the other hand, it might result in the physician waiting for the patient to be ready in the pre-op area, which is wasting his utilization time. It is best to be as accurate as possible when scheduling the procedures so that neither the patient nor the physician are waiting and it does not go past operating room time frames, resulting in overtime pay for staff.