ASC Physician Focus, "Making 2017 Your ASC's Most Successful Year Yet"

Published April 18, 2017

The change of a calendar year can feel like a fresh start. We asked four ASC physician leaders what they are planning to do to make 2017 their ASC’s best year yet.

Thomas M. Deas Jr., MD, Vice President of Physician Engagement, North Texas Specialty Physicians in Fort Worth, Texas: I would like to make it the best year ever for my patients. To do so, we will focus on their experience in the ASC. This would include reducing waiting times, assuring plenty of warm blankets in pre-op, measuring and improving a new quality outcome and establishing strict protocols to eliminate falls.

Louis Levitt, MD, Owner and Chairman, Massachusetts Avenue Surgery Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and Vice President and Secretary, The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics: Due to incredible patient demand, it is our intention to move as much care safely away from the hospital setting and into ASCs. From my perspective, ASCs have become one of the more significant trends in medicine, delivering high patient satisfaction, total convenience, low complication rates and greatly reduced costs. The data reinforces this point, with a study from Orthopedic Reviews showing cost savings range from 17.6 percent to 57.6 percent, while patients also report a 92 percent satisfaction rate, according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. Consequently, the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation found that two-thirds of all surgeries in the US now occur in the outpatient setting.

The bundled payment model represents a strong opportunity to further reduce costs for patients, while providing incentives for physicians who best control costs and deliver quality outcomes. I think the centerpiece of a bundling event is going to be the ASC. In my ASC, we have already started offering total joint replacements as a bundled payment. In the last year, we probably did 100 total joints, and we expect to double that this year. We are also presenting new bundled payment models to payers for seven episodes of care, including knee arthroscopy, rotator cuff repair, and anterior disc excision and fusion. In this new health care dynamic, I believe that ASCs will often present the most compelling value proposition to patients, because we can truly offer better quality, convenience and cost savings.

Keith Metz, MD, Anesthesiologist and Medical Director, Great Lakes Surgical Center in Southfield, Michigan: As we continue to care for the patients brought by our surgeons, we have encountered many new health care insurance products. A close evaluation of our actual reimbursements from the new products has revealed many surprises. Some cases that were previously well-reimbursed were no longer financially viable, and others were remarkably well-compensated. There was a variation of 300 percent in reimbursement for the same procedure with similar payers. We will have to continue to adjust our case evaluation and case-costing methodology to reflect these new payment realities.

Arnaldo Valedon, MD, Chief of ASC Division, First Colonies Anesthesia Associates in Frederick, Maryland: I plan to look into more evidence-based data for newer procedures being performed in ASCs to refine our current perioperative policies and procedures. Given the growing complexity of procedures being performed in ASCs, it is vital to keep ahead of the curve and plan for appropriate patient selection, refine multimodal pain management protocols and keep close track of outcomes. In addition, I would like to look at quality measure reporting and refine our measures to best capture short- and long-term care for patients.

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