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tory compliance and administrative and cost management to attracting and re- cruiting quality staff. One resource that is available to help ASCs, as well as other medical groups and businesses, is a pro- fessional employer organization (PEO).

Help at Hand

A professional HR program can help an ASC succeed. BY LOUIS BASSO AND BARRY SHORTEN

Louis Basso and Barry Shorten

More than 5,300 Medi- care-certified ASCs current- ly operate in the US, ac-

cording to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This number is up from CMS’ 2009 data reports that showed a total of 5,260 ASCs, however, the data also suggests a declining year-to-year net growth rate for ASCs. There are several rea- sons for this, including common mistakes and problems facing ASCs such as: ■

A center’s failure to comply with state and federal regulations or ac- creditation requirements;

■ ■

Ineffective screening and selection of physicians;

Changes in reimbursements due to shifts in health care models and poor- ly managed care contracts;


Failure to control overhead costs, from facilities to supplies and staff compensation;

Inability of physicians and staff to attract medical cases and/or cases for which the ASC is reimbursed ad- equately; and

Poor administration leading to poor service quality and medical care, billing procedures, regulatory com- pliance, etc. For ASCs that face one or more of these challenges, there are ways to im- prove performance. One that is becom- ing increasingly popular is the use of business solution partners to manage specific aspects of the center’s operation. Alcott HR, a human resources manage- ment company, currently has more than half a dozen ASCs in its client roster, whereas 10 years back there were none. Human resources (HR) management

offers many benefits to ASCs across core business factors that range from regula-

The Role of the PEO The National Association of Profession- al Employer Organizations (NAPEO) ( is the trade associa- tion for the PEO industry. NAPEO has a membership of approximately 350 PEOs operating in all 50 states. It de- fines PEOs as organizations that “en- able clients to cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, employee benefits, payroll and work- ers’ compensation” so that their clients can “focus on their core competencies to maintain and grow their bottom line.” Specifically, PEOs serve their clients as a total HR outsourcing resource for: ■

Payroll administration; ■

Employee benefits design and admin- istration;

■ Tax administration;

■ Regulatory compliance; and ■

Value-added employee benefits/ser- vices such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), adoption assistance and discounts for mass transportation, shopping, travel and entertainment. Because PEOs serve a large number of clients and can pool their employees into one large group, their clients gain economies of scale benefits and cost savings that they could not derive on their own. The PEO’s employee benefits package also enables smaller organiza- tions to compete on a more equal foot- ing with larger organizations when try- ing to attract and retain staff.

The PEO’s Value Proposition A major aspect of the PEO’s role is to assume the administrative burdens as- sociated with employee and HR-related operations and, as it does, to manage the associated risks and liabilities. This last

The advice and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent official Ambulatory Surgery Center Association policy or opinion.

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