On the second day of the 23rd Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs, hosted by Becker’s ASC Review, Regent Surgical Health co-founder Tom Mallon participated in the panel discussion ASCs: 2016-2017, and provided a glimpse into where the surgery center market has been and where it is headed.

“We’ve been coming to these meetings for 15 years, and there have always been clouds on the horizon, such as revenue uncertainty,” Mallon told the standing-room only audience. “But, we see more blue sky today than we’ve ever seen in the past.”

Mallon said that while surgery centers were hit with Medicare reimbursement cuts hard during the early cycle of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), hospitals will begin to face this reality in 2018. He said hospitals are worried about getting their sites of service out in the community close to the patients.

In the past few years, Mallon said Regent has doubled down on hospital relationships, helping hospitals realize the opportunities presented by robust ambulatory care platforms to lower costs, improve the quality of care, enhance patient loyalty, and improve physician satisfaction.

Additionally, Mallon said the increase of total joint procedures at Regent’s partner centers have been a positive. “We did 60 last year, and this year we’ll do 300,” he said. “That’s like building another surgery center without one brick and mortar. It is a major benefit.”

He also said microcenters involved in total joint replacement could be the wave of the future. To that end, Mallon discussed Regent’s partnership with Beaverton, Ore.-based West End Surgical, LLC, to develop the first surgery center in the northwest United States designed specifically to treat complex cases and procedures, focusing on total joint replacement and spine disorders. The evolving healthcare landscape makes the development in Oregon an important one, and will broaden the scope of specialties as reimbursement levels continue to change.

“Diversification in specialties is a good thing for surgery centers in the long run,” said Mallon. “Payments will not be the same five years from now.”

Mallon also discussed opportunities overseas for Regent. The company’s foray into an agreement between Hermitage Medical Clinic, the physicians of Neurosurgery Ireland, and Chicago-based Accelitech has created Ireland’s only dedicated center for the diagnosis and treatment of neurosurgical disorders in the community hospital setting. The experience has been enriching, Mallon said, as Regent has had a wonderful opportunity to learn about the Irish health system. But, he also said the opportunity is abundant in the United States and that is where Regent’s focus continues to be.

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