The transition towards value-based care in the U.S. health system has accompanied the rise of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC’s) which are quickly becoming the norm for outpatient surgery today. There are currently 5,500 ASC’s in the U.S. and this number is estimated to increase to between 8,000 and 10,000 over the course of the next decade.
With surgery increasingly shifting towards the outpatient model, hospitals and health systems are also expanding into the ambulatory surgery space by either partnering with ASC’s or establishing their own to increase surgical reimbursements. According to Regent Surgical Health, the volume of surgeries conducted in inpatient facilities between 2006 and 2013 fell by 17 percent, while those performed in outpatient facilities, including ASC’s, increased by 33 percent.
ASC’s can capitalize on this transition and see a significant increase in their revenue. Here’s 3 tips for ASC’s in an ever-changing outpatient surgery landscape:
1. Open New Doors of Partnership with Independent Surgeons
With an increase in demand for outpatient surgery, patients are looking for quality services at the lowest possible cost. ASC’s should consider entering into partnerships with surgeons to increase case volumes by being able to continually provide quality services at low cost. According to Marilyn Denegre-Rumbin, Cardinal Health's Director of Payer and Reimbursement Strategy, this partnership can take different forms. An ASC facility can partner with independent surgeons or those that work with both hospitals and ASC’s. Another form of partnership would be to offer ownership claims to those interested in partnering or looking to start their centers.
2. Target Private Payers
Private payers are known to prefer ASC’s over hospitals because of the lower reimbursement rates that go to ASC’s for similar surgical procedures performed in hospital settings. An ASC owner can take advantage of this by leveraging payer data to search for employers. The success of this strategy would however be hinged on whether it generates increased case volume to the center or not. And improving the quality of services offered to payers and patients is crucial to attracting greater case volume and revenue to a center.
3. Take advantage of the shift towards healthcare consumerism
Consumerism is fast gaining traction in the healthcare space as patients are taking advantage of the transition to value-based care. This is because of being able to freely choose between surgery centers that offer the highest quality at lowest possible cost. ASC’s must therefore understand how to attract greater case volume to their centers in a landscape centered on consumer purchasing preferences.
ASC’s also need to be aware that to succeed in this new landscape, they need to supply patients with information and decision support tools, financial incentives, rewards and other benefits that encourage personal involvement.
With patients finding it increasingly difficult to offset their out-of-pocket medical expenses, offering low cost payment options can be adopted by ASC’s as an incentive to drive case volume to their centers. For instance, a facility can offer a payment plan for patients unable to meet their emergency surgery expenses that allows them to make smaller installment payments spread out over a few months.
What Mnet Health Offers
At Mnet Health, we work to provide flexible payment options for patients and providers, especially for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC’s) that rely on repeat business and referrals. Mnet Health’s flagship product, MedDraft offers a payment option that enables providers and patients to easily resolve patient medical bills through a short-term, zero-interest payment schedule. By leveraging the MedDraft online platform, patients gain access to an interest-free payment plan which can ultimately help drive greater case volume to an ASC facility.