Looking Ahead: Ambulatory Surgery Centers in 2017

looking aheadWe previously discussed the year that was for ambulatory surgery centers in our column "ASCs in 2016: A Year in Review." With 2017 upon us, it's an appropriate time to look ahead to the year that will be.There are many areas of focus for ASCs in 2017, although these may vary significantly depending on the market they serve and the current challenges and opportunities they face. We spoke with surgery center professionals to find out what's on the top of their to-do lists and how they hope to achieve their objectives. From what they tell us, it will be a challenging but successful year.

What are looking to be some of your areas of focus in 2017?

"Continued increases in efficiency, operating margins, and patient satisfaction while managing an anticipated short-term case volume decrease due to a relocating surgeon."

Jon Van Valkenburg, CASC | Executive Director, Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center

"A big focus will be helping our ASCs clients capture case volume leaving the inpatient setting. For those clients already performing procedures in these specialties, that may require renegotiation of payer contracts and exploring alternative payment options, such as bundled payments. For those clients looking to add specialties, it may require purchasing new equipment, expanding facilities and even relocating if even more space is required."

Joan Dentler | President and CEO, Avanza Healthcare Strategies

"I think we're going to have to spend a fair amount of time on state financial requirements and cost containment. There is a new state tax in Connecticut, which is 6% of gross receipts. That has been a significant challenge for us and most ASCs in the state to overcome. We have to pay close attention to what we spend on each case and educate staff on only opening items if they are necessary during the case."

Kerri Ubaldi, RN, MBA, CPHRM | Merritt Healthcare, VP of Operations

How will technology help you achieve your goals in the new year?

"Technology will be critical for achieving common objectives for all of our clients: maintaining compliance with regulatory and accreditation standards, benchmarking to improve performance throughout the organization, streamlining workflow, improving efficiencies, reducing costs and increasing patient engagement."

Joan Dentler | President and CEO, Avanza Healthcare Strategies 

"We are focused on using data-based, business intelligence to drive our decisions and develop the most effective strategies. We are also focused on patient satisfaction and engagement with enhancements like our HIPAA-compliant waiting room patient tracker."

Jon Van Valkenburg, CASC | Executive Director, Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center

What is a New Year's resolution you have for your ASC as a whole and for your job specifically?

"For my ASC: continued patient satisfaction increase. For my job: increase net income despite expected short-term case volume decrease."

Jon Van Valkenburg, CASC | Executive Director, Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center 

Q: What do you hope to help your ASC clients achieve in the new year?

"Case costing and quality improvement are the two most significant areas where we would like to see improvement. We have been developing quality improvement projects with our new business intelligence solution, AmkaiAnalytics. The tool allows us to quickly identify whether an issue that we think we are having is really a problem so that we are not wasting time on projects where we don’t have a significant problem. AmkaiAnalytics will also quickly determine whether our changes are effective."

Kerri Ubaldi, RN, MBA, CPHRM | Merritt Healthcare, VP of Operations 

"Our ASC clients have very different objectives. Our goal for every one of them is to help achieve those objectives. For those clients planning or considering major changes, such as adding specialties, adding new locations, and exploring partnerships with hospitals, other ASCs and physician groups, we will help them make educated decisions to help make sure the changes they elect to pursue will proceed in an appropriate, efficient manner. If a client is not expecting to make significant changes in 2017, we want to help them improve what they are already doing by finding ways to boost efficiencies and reduce costs."

Joan Dentler | President and CEO, Avanza Healthcare Strategies

Finish this sentence: One of the ways ASCs will make 2017 their best year yet will be by ...

"... continuing to improve patient satisfaction and employee moral through improved communication."

Jon Van Valkenburg, CASC | Executive Director, Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center

"... exploring the many opportunities that are presenting themselves, but never deviating from the processes that make surgery centers so effective at delivering high-quality care. They may include new procedures and specialties as well as potential partnerships with hospitals and other ASCs. This is a time and opportunity begging for leadership — bold, direction-setting, career-making, L-E-A-D leadership. The alternative is to let competition make the first move."

Joan Dentler | President and CEO, Avanza Healthcare Strategies 

"... taking advantage of opportunities presented by the increased outpatient migration from hospitals to the ambulatory surgery center world."

Kerri Ubaldi, RN, MBA, CPHRM | Merritt Healthcare, VP of Operations

Ambulatory surgery centers will be faced with many challenges throughout 2017. Possible barriers to success such as negotiating fair contract rates with payers, high-deductible insurance plans creating more-informed, cost-sensitive patients, and constant revenue and cost containment pressures can make the ASC space a difficult place to thrive, and sometimes even survive. However, as many industry experts have stated, there is tremendous opportunity to be had through strategic planning, investments in technologies and education, and an ongoing commitment to delivering high-quality, low-cost care. As the year progresses, all ASC professionals must stay attuned to the current climate and find new ways to compete.

Topics: Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Administrators, Human Resources Management, Multi-Speciality Centers

Looking Ahead: Ambulatory Surgery Centers in 2017

looking aheadWe previously discussed the year that was for ambulatory surgery centers in our column "ASCs in 2016: A Year in Review." With 2017 upon us, it's an appropriate time to look ahead to the year that will be.There are many areas of focus for ASCs in 2017, although these may vary significantly depending on the market they serve and the current challenges and opportunities they face. We spoke with surgery center professionals to find out what's on the top of their to-do lists and how they hope to achieve their objectives. From what they tell us, it will be a challenging but successful year.

What are looking to be some of your areas of focus in 2017?

"Continued increases in efficiency, operating margins, and patient satisfaction while managing an anticipated short-term case volume decrease due to a relocating surgeon."

Jon Van Valkenburg, CASC | Executive Director, Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center

"A big focus will be helping our ASCs clients capture case volume leaving the inpatient setting. For those clients already performing procedures in these specialties, that may require renegotiation of payer contracts and exploring alternative payment options, such as bundled payments. For those clients looking to add specialties, it may require purchasing new equipment, expanding facilities and even relocating if even more space is required."

Joan Dentler | President and CEO, Avanza Healthcare Strategies

"I think we're going to have to spend a fair amount of time on state financial requirements and cost containment. There is a new state tax in Connecticut, which is 6% of gross receipts. That has been a significant challenge for us and most ASCs in the state to overcome. We have to pay close attention to what we spend on each case and educate staff on only opening items if they are necessary during the case."

Kerri Ubaldi, RN, MBA, CPHRM | Merritt Healthcare, VP of Operations

How will technology help you achieve your goals in the new year?

"Technology will be critical for achieving common objectives for all of our clients: maintaining compliance with regulatory and accreditation standards, benchmarking to improve performance throughout the organization, streamlining workflow, improving efficiencies, reducing costs and increasing patient engagement."

Joan Dentler | President and CEO, Avanza Healthcare Strategies 

"We are focused on using data-based, business intelligence to drive our decisions and develop the most effective strategies. We are also focused on patient satisfaction and engagement with enhancements like our HIPAA-compliant waiting room patient tracker."

Jon Van Valkenburg, CASC | Executive Director, Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center

What is a New Year's resolution you have for your ASC as a whole and for your job specifically?

"For my ASC: continued patient satisfaction increase. For my job: increase net income despite expected short-term case volume decrease."

Jon Van Valkenburg, CASC | Executive Director, Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center 

Q: What do you hope to help your ASC clients achieve in the new year?

"Case costing and quality improvement are the two most significant areas where we would like to see improvement. We have been developing quality improvement projects with our new business intelligence solution, AmkaiAnalytics. The tool allows us to quickly identify whether an issue that we think we are having is really a problem so that we are not wasting time on projects where we don’t have a significant problem. AmkaiAnalytics will also quickly determine whether our changes are effective."

Kerri Ubaldi, RN, MBA, CPHRM | Merritt Healthcare, VP of Operations 

"Our ASC clients have very different objectives. Our goal for every one of them is to help achieve those objectives. For those clients planning or considering major changes, such as adding specialties, adding new locations, and exploring partnerships with hospitals, other ASCs and physician groups, we will help them make educated decisions to help make sure the changes they elect to pursue will proceed in an appropriate, efficient manner. If a client is not expecting to make significant changes in 2017, we want to help them improve what they are already doing by finding ways to boost efficiencies and reduce costs."

Joan Dentler | President and CEO, Avanza Healthcare Strategies

Finish this sentence: One of the ways ASCs will make 2017 their best year yet will be by ...

"... continuing to improve patient satisfaction and employee moral through improved communication."

Jon Van Valkenburg, CASC | Executive Director, Upstate Orthopedics Ambulatory Surgery Center

"... exploring the many opportunities that are presenting themselves, but never deviating from the processes that make surgery centers so effective at delivering high-quality care. They may include new procedures and specialties as well as potential partnerships with hospitals and other ASCs. This is a time and opportunity begging for leadership — bold, direction-setting, career-making, L-E-A-D leadership. The alternative is to let competition make the first move."

Joan Dentler | President and CEO, Avanza Healthcare Strategies 

"... taking advantage of opportunities presented by the increased outpatient migration from hospitals to the ambulatory surgery center world."

Kerri Ubaldi, RN, MBA, CPHRM | Merritt Healthcare, VP of Operations

Ambulatory surgery centers will be faced with many challenges throughout 2017. Possible barriers to success such as negotiating fair contract rates with payers, high-deductible insurance plans creating more-informed, cost-sensitive patients, and constant revenue and cost containment pressures can make the ASC space a difficult place to thrive, and sometimes even survive. However, as many industry experts have stated, there is tremendous opportunity to be had through strategic planning, investments in technologies and education, and an ongoing commitment to delivering high-quality, low-cost care. As the year progresses, all ASC professionals must stay attuned to the current climate and find new ways to compete.

Topics: Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Administrators, Human Resources Management, Multi-Speciality Centers

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