Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) have seen an uptick in activity in recent years as procedures have shifted from hospital inpatient – to hospital outpatient – to ASCs. According to Becker’s ASC Review, numerous reasons exist for the transition, including patient and provider convenience and cost-savings, high-quality outcomes, and technology that enables sophisticated ambulatory surgery procedures.
How is this influx of attention and activity shaping the ASC landscape? For one, ambulatory surgery procedures offered in these facilities are becoming increasingly complex. On the financial side of the industry, ASCs are improving price transparency and offering more options for payment include bundled payments and packages for self-pay. Let’s take a deeper look at how ambulatory surgery centers are improving to meet the demands of the changing marketplace.
Because of the increase in popularity of ambulatory surgery centers, hospitals and healthcare systems demonstrate growing interest in finding ways to gain access to the highly attractive ASC marketplace. In fact, a 2017 Capitol One survey revealed that 38 percent of healthcare executives said their primary plans for growth this year include mergers and acquisitions.
Price Transparency is Key to Bring in More Patients
Michele Bossi is the administrator at OSS Health Ambulatory Surgery Center. She shares her insights with Becker’s ASC Review about how her orthopedic surgery center is rising above the competition by offering self-pay options for patients and improving pricing transparency.
OSS allows people to see the prices for the standard set of services required for most patients to have a procedure done at the facility. Because patients are able to see these prices, they often realize what services they can afford and many patients decide to pay completely out-of-pocket for specific ambulatory surgery procedures. Thus far, the results have been impressive. Bossi explains that:
“The physicians, physician assistants, and staff of OSS Health are dedicated to providing the highest level of quality, safety, and customer satisfaction. Our transparent pricing initiative takes this commitment to the next level by moving our business model from simply being on the list of insurance company and hospital system “allowed providers” to one that competes for providing your care on the basis of quality and value.”
The website for her orthopedic ambulatory surgery center includes prices for the following:
- Surgical implant costs
- Facility fee
- Uncomplicated follow-up care
- Surgeon’s fee
- Anesthesiologist’s fee
- Lab and x-ray services needed prior to surgery
Prices that are not listed on the website include:
- Pathology lab services
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- An MRI as a diagnostic study necessary prior to the surgery
- Consultations with specialists to determine medical risk/management
Because the second list of services and tests are not necessary for all ambulatory surgery patients, they do not include them. However, patients can still obtain this price information prior to surgery if needed. With the many financial advocates available at OSS, patients have access to dedicated professionals to guide them through the process.
Ambulatory Surgery Procedures Show Improvement
One California-based outpatient clinic, Central Coast Surgery Center, is taking the necessary steps to decrease the probability of infections and wrong-site procedures. The administrator, Patrick Haley, explains how the staff members are achieving this goal in an article with Becker’s ASC Review:
“We have always had the patient and surgeon independently mark the site of surgery, but have recently transitioned to having the surgeon lead the time-out in the room rather than the circulator. This puts the ownership upon the primary surgeon and per staff reports [and] has been more effective in getting the whole team’s attention. We are all doing time-outs in our rooms, but taking a good look at the quality of that one moment in time is critical.”
Haley talks about staff participation in the prevention of infection and wrong-site surgeries. He explains that when it comes to patient safety, it’s easy to get people on board with the steps needed to reach these goals and reduce negative outcomes. However, the trouble lies in the fact that these tasks are often repetitive in nature. Because of this, there is a tendency to “slack off on the simple stuff when no one is watching.” He elaborates on the measures taken to keep everyone on their toes: “Keeping constant monitors in place on the simple things, like hand washing and surgical attire, keeps these topics in the forefront.”
At The SSI Group, we provide a robust Analytics solution for ambulatory surgery centers, called Medibis. This software gives ambulatory surgery centers the ability to make better business decisions and allocate resources to top priorities through intuitive analytics. Request a Demo today to learn how this solution can impact the bottom line for your surgery center.