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COVER STORY


Marketing Your ASC in the COVID-19 Era


Play up your strengths, share your new safety precautions with patients BY ROBERT KURTZ


F


or an ASC to be successful, its marketing must be successful, says Melissa Hermanson, RN, CASC, administrator of Ambulatory Care Center in Vineland, New Jersey. Inde- pendent and physician owned, the ASC competes with facilities that have the support of a hospital system or man- agement company.


“In that sense, we are a dinosaur compared to our competitors,” Her- manson says. “We do not have a part- ner to build awareness of our ASC, so we work that much harder to inform patients about us, attract new physicians and reach businesses with self-funded benefits programs that see an opportu- nity for our center to help them.” Historically, Ambulatory Care Cen-


ter’s marketing messaging has largely centered on its low infection rates, per- sonalized approach to surgery and high quality of care, Hermanson says. Then


COVID-19 came along and forced the ASC to reevaluate its approach. “While we still thought it was important to play up those strengths, we recognized the need to let our patients and commu- nity know that we understand their con- cerns and explain what we were doing to respond so our ASC does not become a place where the virus is transmitted.” The pandemic represented an oppor- tunity for Medarva Healthcare, which operates Stony Point Surgery Center in Richmond, Virginia, and West Creek Surgery Center in Henrico, Virginia, in how it approached its marketing, says Eddie Edwards, director of marketing and public relations. “We recognized early on that we could help meet a significant need,” Edwards says. “As much as we talk about ASCs providing ‘elective’ surgery, there are some procedures surgeons and patients do not feel comfortable postponing, such


10 ASC FOCUS NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020| ascfocus.org


as a child in pain who requires a tonsillec- tomy or ear tubes.” With hospitals focused on and being associated with COVID-19, it was only a matter of time before patients and surgeons began looking for other locations for procedures. “We knew our ASCs, which are centrally located and not embedded within hospitals, repre- sented a needed alternative,” he says. ASC marketing has taken on greater significance with the increased atten- tion on safety, says Robert McCarville, managing principal of Medical Consult- ing Group (MCG) in Springfield, Mis- souri. “If patients are going to consider leaving their homes for elective pro- cedures, they want to know what their surgical provider is doing to make them feel safe. Patients are not alone: We are seeing on the nursing and anesthesia side that they are more concerned about safety for themselves and patients.”


Spreading the Word Before pushing out new marketing, everyone at your ASC should be on the same page, says William Rabourn


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