Participate in ASCA’s 60-Second Survey I

n spring, ASCA introduced a bimonthly email survey series named 60-Second Survey. Each survey will take approximately a minute to complete and will not

require pulling complicated data from your record-keeping system. I encourage you to participate because each survey will provide insightful information to help guide ASCA’s advocacy efforts and other critical services that we provide. The first survey, conducted in March, asked about operational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and received 314 responses in 10 days. ASCs in 44 states responded. The second survey, on electronic health records (EHR), ran the last week of April through the first week of May. The first survey revealed the severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on ASC operations (turn to page 18 to read more about the severe effects of the pandemic on ASCs). Mandatory stoppages of elective surgeries in spring 2020 caused significant declines in procedure volume. Eighty-two percent of respondents reported lower or significantly lower procedure volume in 2020 compared to 2019. This aligns with previous ASCA surveys performed last year and publicly reported numbers that showed a 70 percent reduction in ambulatory surgery services since the onset of the pandemic. The severe reduction in procedure volume had obvious effects on facility finances, with 70 percent of survey respondents reporting lower or significantly lower revenue in 2020 compared to 2019. These findings align with a previous ASCA survey in which almost 60 percent of facilities reported significantly lower revenue between March 31 and October 31, 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. Mandatory stoppages were not the only reason for reduced procedure volume in 2020. Seventy percent of respondents reported higher than usual patient cancellations. This was due to a myriad of reasons including recent exposure to a COVID-19 positive person, recent travel prior to procedure date and patient discomfort with undergoing medical treatment during the pandemic. Increased cancellations were just one of many difficulties that ASCs faced in

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2020. Responses to the survey also showed most facilities had trouble maintaining staffing, navigating changing regulatory requirements and acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE). In a previous survey from ASCA, 87.3 percent of respondents reported “some” to “significant” issues with acquiring PPE, including having to pay more than normal to purchase these supplies. Despite these challenges, in past ASCA surveys, facilities reported 100 percent compliance with universal masking and 98.1 percent compliance with social distancing and pre- operative patient screenings per recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At press time, we were still analyzing the responses from the second survey on EHR while working on our next few key questions to put into the field. Despite the difficulties the pandemic brought and continues to bring, ASCs keep meeting the challenges and coming out winners. Keep up the stellar work, stay safe and please participate in our 60-Second Survey.

Bill Prentice Chief Executive Officer ASC FOCUS JUNE/JULY 2021 |

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