MESSAGE FROM THE CEO ASCs Provide $38 Billion in Savings, More Is Possible I

f you read the email messages that ASCA sends its members each week and follow the news about ASCs, you likely already know that a study released in June shows

that ASCs currently reduce private health insurance spending by $38 billion each year. That study also concludes that $5 billion of that savings goes directly to patients through lower deductibles and coinsurance payments. These results come from an analysis of more than 400,000 private health insurance claims from across the country conducted by Health Care Bluebook™, a national pro- vider of quality and cost data for health care services. HealthSmart, the nation’s largest independent administrator of health plans for self-funded employers, supplied the data for the study. ASCA contributed technical assistance and expertise. That $38 billion figure means that each year, private insurance providers and their beneficiaries save an amount equal to Medicare’s total spending on all hospital outpa- tient care. These substantial savings have a profound impact on employers and patients. With health care spending in the country topping $3 trillion this year, it is hard to find opportunities for savings that don’t rely on rationing or compromising quality. What do these findings mean for your ASC? First, they mean something you probably already know: When it comes to negotiat- ing contracts with private insurers, the hospitals in your community that offer a broader range of services and command a larger market share than your ASC are likely to have greater negotiating power as well. That means when it is time to renew your existing contracts or reach out to new provid-

ers, you have to work harder to educate those across the table about the many benefits that ASCs offer and the cost savings they provide. This study could help make that task easier. Another way this study affects your ASC is that it gives you a tool you can use to

make patients aware of the cost savings that ASCs offer and, coupled with your quality data, the value that your ASC provides. One more key finding is that employers across the country can realize savings of up to 4 percent of their total spend by making better use of the more cost-effective providers in their existing network. Since those savings won’t accrue to employers who sit idly by, your ASC might need to help educate employers in your area about the steps they need to take to reduce their costs and their beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket spending. Some you can suggest include: ■

understand their spending data, and what is happening in their network, in the loca- tions where their employees live and work;

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employ benefit designs that encourage consumerism, such as high deductible and consumer-directed plan designs;

educate their employees and provide them with the price and quality transparency tools they need to be effective health care consumers; and

■ reward their employees when they make good, cost-effective choices on care. ■

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The complete results of this study are available at http://www.advancingsurgicalcare. com/hcbbstudy. As ASCA continues to share this information with state and national policymakers,

the public and the members of the media, I encourage you to work in your own hometown to share this news. If you want to report a success story, talk about strategy or ask a question about the data the final report contains, please write Kay Tucker at

Bill Prentice Chief Executive Officer

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