ASC Administrator

The only constant is change. In the surgery center context that means that physicians retire, move away, or sometimes simply decide to do cases elsewhere. Accordingly, for a surgery center to remain healthy, it must always be looking for new physicians. How do you do that intelligently and effectively? Define Goals and Opportunities We commonly seek to add physicians whose procedures are reimbursed well in surgery centers, and we’ve often been able to increase profitability dramatically by adding neurosurgery, orthopaedics and bariatrics to a center. Other profitable specialties can be found by analyzing historical reimbursement and managed care contract provisions or negotiating opportunities. The resulting wish list then needs to be matched against the market. We rely heavily on our physician partners to identify colleagues who might be interested in using our centers. We also use fancy demographic search tools and, regardless of how sophisticated other approaches may be, the local Yellow Pages. Be Efficient If you’re looking for new investors, you need to know whether targeted physicians are employed by a local hospital or have invested in another surgery center and are bound by contractual restrictions on making similar investments within the geographic area. You need to be assured that new investors can meet the requirements of the ASC Safe Harbor as well. We obtain information regarding case mix and volume, and use it for many purposes, including determining how we can accommodate new physicians should they decide to join the center. Provide Superior Service The most important factor in recruiting new physicians is providing superior service through a center that meets their needs better than anywhere else. That means, foremost, a center that provides high quality care to their patients. It also means that we have the equipment that they need, that our personnel are trained to assist with their particular procedures, that turnover times are low, and that we are responsive in a timely fashion to their concerns. Out-of-network cases must be handled with as little disruption to the physicians’ office staff and the patients as possible. Patients’ families must have a good experience. Block times must be maintained on an equitable basis. We must offer leading edge knowledge of new procedures that can be performed at the center. The list goes on. Make the Connection For physicians who are considering investment as well as utilization, we need to demonstrate financial success (or, in the case of a turnaround center, opportunity) along with clinical and managerial excellence. For the sake of current partners as well as potential new investors, we often suggest that new physicians try the facility for several months before either side makes a decision about their investing. This allows both sides to determine whether the new physician and the center fit well. Finally, we let new investors know that the center is operated on a transparent basis. They have access to the facility’s financial records and are welcome at all monthly Board meetings. We’re available at any time to answer questions or discuss any aspect of the center’s operations. By maintaining lofty standards for our centers and proceeding analytically with respect to new physicians, we’re able to offer an attractive opportunity for new utilizers and investors, while at the same time strengthening the centers for our existing partners.