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FEATURE


to bring a broader perspective to issues at any given ASC based on their inti- mate understanding of physician partner interests across their network, as well as how similar situations may have been handled in the past at comparable ASCs. While focused on the day-to-day functioning of an ASC, it is also impor- tant for physicians to think about the center’s sustainability over the long term, including developing succession strategies to replace case volume lost through retiring physicians or other fluctuations, Schifman says. “Facili- ties should think continuously of cre- ative ways to help support ASC growth, such as strategies to recruit young phy- sicians who might ultimately provide a new generation of physicians to join the ASC down the road.”


Solutions


Educating patients about the many benefits that ASCs offer and why they should choose an ASC is at the top of


to ASCAPAC to ensure that we have a voice in Congress.”


When patients come to an ASC,


the solutions list for confronting all of the challenges listed above, industry experts agree. “We have to educate the patients up front, about the safer environment, the lower costs and the equivalent, if not better, care when compared to hospitals,” Tapia says. “Continue to educate patients, pay- ers and politicians,” Richberg says. “Do open houses, invite your con- gressmen to your ASC, and contribute


the staff should inform them about the benefits of an ASC. “Patients want to know about the cost of care,” he says. “Physician offices need to inform their patients about the cost-effective alternative that ASCs represent. And we need to reinforce that information and educate them when they come to our ASCs. It is inappropriate not to offer patients a lower cost alternative, if that alternative can provide appropriate care and is available to the patient. Very often, out of convenience, some surgeons will add their surgery center appropriate cases


to their hospital lineup. This


behavior creates unnecessary increased costs for both the patient and the health care system. Too often surgeons use convenience over economics.” Quality care and expense monitor- ing for cost containment also top the list of ways ASCs can confront their biggest challenges. “Expense bench- marking against peers allows ASC management companies to deploy an analytical approach for comparing costs on equipment, supplies, staff- ing and all other expense line items,” Schifman says. “Keeping physicians engaged through updates on trends in the facility’s performance, compari- sons versus comparable ASCs and potential areas for cost savings help ensure effective expense management.” ASCs might also benefit from net-


work-level scale achieved by working with a management partner, he sug- gests. The management partner could develop a group purchasing organiza- tion to allow its ASCs to benefit from ongoing supplies savings and create news ways to buy in bulk—whether it is tangible materials or other services utilized by its ASCs, he explains. “Understanding where major issues can arise and preventing them from spiraling is a great first step to ensur- ing best-in-class ASC performance,” Schifman concludes.


16 ASC FOCUS AUGUST 2015


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