Finding the Right Space for Your ASC Navigating the challenges of building new, retrofitting or adaptive reuse BY TONY BREITLOW

“So, can it be done?” A healthcare client asked me this question after we sur- veyed a building they were considering for a new spe-

cialty care procedure center and clinic. The building was in the exact location they were looking for and it was the per- fect size. There was just one hang-up: it was a car dealership and auto shop, not exactly move-in ready or code compli- ant as a healthcare practice. Undeterred and seeing the future potential, my cli- ent and I began a project unique to any I had undertaken in my 20-year career in healthcare architecture. This client is not unlike hundreds of other independent healthcare provid- ers, each navigating their way through the choppy waters of accreditation, reimbursement criteria, the competi- tion of fellow providers and customer demands and preferences. Providing first-class care and maintaining a foot- hold within the community requires a constant re-evaluation of services and the facilities in which care is ren- dered. For many, a vital component in this quest for relevancy is the ASC or ambulatory care center (ACC). The past two decades have seen an increase in the overall percentage of surger- ies performed in outpatient settings. According to the Advisory Board, in 2005, 42 percent of surgeries were per- formed in inpatient settings. By 2020, that number had decreased to 36 per- cent. The surgery market is continuing to shift to ASCs, a trend sure to con- tinue given the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recent proposal to eliminate orthopedics and other surgical types from the inpatient- only (IPO) list by 2024. Given the top-

Interior new build of Orthopaedic Associates of Wisconsin in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.


Learn more about building or expanding a surgery center during the session “Construction Planning for Your ASC.” The ASCA 2021 Virtual Conference is available on demand. annualconference


with ASCs, the cost savings they offer and their popularity

physicians and insurers, the Advisory Board is

increase in ASC volumes by 2027. For any client, the opening of an

ASC requires a significant invest- ment of resources. I have had the privilege of assisting multiple clients in this endeavor using very differ-


patient outcomes associated with patients,

projecting a 27.6 percent

ent approaches, each bringing unique opportunities and challenges.

New Building Construction One client, a large independent urology group, was operating out of multiple locations but wanted to consolidate resources and streamline their operational footprint into one, unified facility. For them, the main driver was efficiency for staff and patients; to create a single, high-functioning center of excellence. By building new, the client could offer all their services in the same facility and schedule a patient for an exam, diagnostic imaging or a procedure, or some combination of the three, all in the same day, which is a definite benefit for patients who live far from the facility. Constructing their own building would allow them to forgo paying rent on tenant spaces and

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

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