During the 23rd Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs, hosted by Becker’s ASC Review, Regent Surgical Health Senior Director of Operations Stephanie Martin spoke at length about the evolution of the supply chain and how ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) can improve upon their supply chain processes and inventory management.

The biggest challenges for surgery centers, Martin said, is that as pricing continues to go up, reimbursement is falling. Because of this, and to make certain supply chain is running at absolute efficiency, Regent partner centers review preference cards on a regular basis. “There’s no magic wand to make that happen, and it can be a laborious process,” she told the audience. “But, the information derived from the preference cards is critical and determines what you’re using and how much it costs and ultimately allows you to establish the true cost of a case. From there, we can make operational decisions that can curb costs and drive profitability.”

As for how often preference cards are reviewed, it depends on the frequency of the cases, said Martin. If the physician is consistent and the cases are done regularly, the center reviews the card every six months to a year. However, for physicians that perform procedures at the center infrequently, the cards are reviewed every time the physician visits the center.

Who reviews the preference cards is a critical piece, and Martin said she prefers the materials manager, if this person has the proper OR experience, review the cards. Furthermore, she believes putting a point person in charge of each individual specialty of the ASC is helpful and promotes consistency. “They’ll have a better understanding of what items need to be ordered and used on a regular basis. And with this data in hand, the ASC can work out volume discounts with vendors,” Martin said.

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