2018 was a very good year for Regent Surgical Health, as the strategic plan is paying dividends and setting the course for continued growth. CEO Chris Bishop paused to reflect on the accomplishments of the year, highlight tangible successes, and share his outlook for the year ahead.
“Regent is in a high growth phase of our company’s life cycle,” Bishop says, “The work we have put into staying on the cutting edge of ASC trends such as hospital/physician joint ventures, bundled payment entities, and outpatient total joint replacement programs are aligned with current market priorities which sets up Regent centers and partners for success.”
In addition to growing its surgery center partnerships, Regent launched three new bundled payment entities in 2018 and opened a brand-new, state of the art center built specifically for TJR.
IT STARTS WITH PEOPLE
“We’re really firing on all cylinders at the moment,” he says. “It always comes down to people, and the team with the best players wins – just look at the Golden State Warriors or the L.A. Rams. Due to strategic new hires, retention of top talent and key promotions, we have the best players and that’s why our centers are performing at record profitability and why we’re closing new transactions at a record pace. I’m exceptionally proud of our team; we’ve invested heavily in them and it demonstrates that we’ve hired, trained and promoted the right people.”
Another 2018 accomplishment that Bishop is proud of is the launch of Regent Cares, an umbrella for the work Regent employees take on to uphold the company’s R.I.S.E. values.
“We strive to exhibit our core values every day but creating Regent Cares really gave us a vehicle for meeting needs in a tangible way,” he says. “Our culture matters at Regent and we’re proud of what we’ve created and how it continues to evolve.”
Bishop cites three examples of Regent Cares accomplishments in its inaugural year:
- Mission Trip – first annual pediatric spine surgery service trip to the Dominican Republic
- Scholarships – awarded to make college possible for deserving students of employees
- Disaster Relief – contributions to families who lost their homes in the California wild fires
WHEN OUR CENTERS SUCCEED – WE SUCCEED
Hard work also is paying off for individual ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) within the Regent network, such as the newly opened Oregon Surgical Institute (OSI), which Bishop says did more than 100 total joint replacement procedures in their first six months of operation, more than most mature centers do in a year.
“OSI is really changing the way we think about joint replacements, including identifying patients who qualify for ambulatory procedures, and establishing the infrastructure to support the effort,” Bishop says, “We’ve now got 14 centers doing TJR and three years ago we had only two. In a very short period, we’ve seen substantial adoption of clinical practice shifting joint patients to the outpatient setting. It’s satisfying to be a first-mover in outpatient TJR.”
BUNDLED PAYMENTS MOVE FROM CONCEPT TO REALITY
Finally, Bishop shares significant progress against the goal of moving the concept of bundled payments from excitement to execution as a notable accomplishment of 2018.
“What we’re finding is the market is hungry for bundled payment solutions,” he explains. “Last year the market was very interested, but what we’ve seen in the last six months of this year is that centers are ready to move from discussion or exploration to execution. And we know how to make that a reality.”
Regent created Regent Surgical Select in 2018 as a bundled payment entity, allowing employers, brokers, commercial payers, and patients custom-design solution for their market.
“There is an appetite among employers to no longer just wait for commercial carriers to design these solutions and to really begin to drive them into these lower cost settings like our Regent Surgical Select solution,” Bishop says. “It is happening. Every month we see our numbers climbing substantially on employers that have national reach, are self-insured, and are tired of seeing their employees go to the hospital to have a procedure that should be done in a surgery center setting and end up paying double. Our bundled payment solution is really aligning the clinical need with the economic need, and that’s the beauty of it: it helps an employer improve the quality of care while cutting the cost of that care by as much as 30%-50% depending upon the market.”
LOOKING TO 2019
Looking forward to next year, Bishop predicts exponential growth in bundled payments and a continuing transition of total joint replacement procedures to the ASC. He also predicts growth in the coming year in cardiology shifting into the outpatient setting on the heels of Medicare’s recent approval of 12 more cardiology codes to be performed in surgery centers.
“We’ve got some activity underway around cardiology coming into our existing surgery centers, and I predict we’ll build our first cardiology surgery center in the not-too-distant future,” he says. “There’s a real need for it and, just as joint replacement shifts from inpatient to the outpatient setting because of improved clinical practice, we’re seeing that with cardiology as well.”
In addition, Bishop says a new CMS price calculator will drive conversations about site neutrality, fueling more Hospital Out Patient Department (HOPD) conversion to ASCs. Changes in certificate of need law also are on the horizon, along with continued consolidation in the healthcare industry.
“You’re going to see, potentially, a lot of change over the next 5-10 years to revise restrictive regulations,” Bishop says. “ASCs are well positioned to thrive in the new marketplace. We are grateful to our stakeholders, partners, and employees for making our progress possible and joining us in creating this much needed change.”