While recent history saw declining numbers of physicians entering private practice in favor of the lower cost of entry and financial security of hospital employment, hospitals had a tough time convincing more established physicians to align with them via employment. Today, progressive health systems are building strategic ambulatory platforms to deliver quality care more efficiently. As a result, care delivery models like ASC joint venture partnerships, become a win-win scenario for health systems and talented physicians … and ultimately, for patients.
According to Carter Griggs, Director of Physician Recruitment and Development at Regent Surgical Health, hospitals and established physicians often had a somewhat adversarial relationship in the past, with physicians juggling privileges at 4-6 different hospitals. Hospitals valued their relationships with these talented and respected physicians, but sought ways to lock up more of their case volume – a tall order, since the security of employment wasn’t attractive to them, and bringing them into the fold via practice acquisition was an expensive proposition.
“These are a few of the reasons ASC joint ventures are fast becoming a powerful recruitment and retention tool,” Griggs says. “For hospitals, the partnerships provide a long-term physician alignment solution. At the same time, they provide physicians with management resources and entrepreneurial opportunities. So very often, a joint venture is a better approach for both.”
As a leader in developing and managing successful surgery center partnerships with hospitals, Regent understands the dynamics of the relationships, and has a proven track record for helping both hospitals and physicians gain optimal benefits from joint venture arrangements.
As part owners of an ASC, physicians can enjoy greater autonomy, an additional source of income and increased involvement in hospital and ASC decision-making, while gaining more control over their time and schedule. For example, turnaround time in a hospital outpatient surgery department could be as high as 30 or 40 minutes, compared to about 10 minutes in an ASC setting. This difference is crucial in both patient and physician satisfaction, allowing surgeons more efficient time management.
For hospitals, joint-venture ASCs not only provide an opportunity to recruit and keep the best doctors, they also can help advance strategic, value-based care goals. For example, an in-patient total knee replacement traditionally required a hospital stay of up to three days. Today in an ASC, a patient undergoing the same procedure can be discharged on the same day as the surgery – contingent, of course, upon medical history and status. This significant reduction in onsite recovery time frees ASC staff to support greater patient loads and generate more revenue overall. Such a strategy can go a long way in helping a health system reach value-based care goals.
Griggs says Regent typically recommends a joint venture contracting model which is a strategic hybrid that minimizes hospitals’ financial investment and risk while offering physicians the control they seek over clinically-related operating policies and equipment purchases. “ASC partnerships offer hospital and physician leaders the opportunity to participate in an innovative industry trend that is growing each day,” he says. “As hospitals expand their ambulatory care platforms, joint venture ASCs just make sense.”
For more information on Regent’s approach to ASC joint-venture partnerships, please contact Thomas Crossen at 708.492.0531.