As 2017 comes successfully to a close, Regent’s CEO Chris Bishop took time out to reflect on the evolution of ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and Regent Surgical Health’s accomplishments this year, and to look ahead to 2018. He outlined key highlights of the year, including strategic advancements, business growth and an increasingly effective internal team.
“Strategically, we identified our vision to treat one million patients by 2021, and have been working hard, both internally and externally, to ensure we achieve it,” Bishop said. “We’ve treated 675,000 patients surgically thru 2017, moving steadily toward that target. Contributing to our progress, we opened three new ASCs this year, with a fourth slated for a January opening.” Opening include:
- Pleasant Surgery Center, a joint venture between MidMichigan Health and eleven local physicians
- The Surgery Center of Wasilla, a joint venture in partnership with 14 physicians
- East Hills Surgery Center, a partnership with St. Francis Hospital of Catholic Health Services of Long Island and 34 physician partners
Opening in January 2018, Oregon Surgical Institute is a joint venture with West End Surgical ASC and 11 surgeons.
“2017 saw continued growth in total joint replacement (TJR) as an outpatient procedure, following 300% growth in total joint volumes in Regent’s ASCs in 2016. The TJR trend that has been a true business driver for Regent,” Bishop explained. “As the year ends, we’re close to doubling the number TJR procedures we performed in 2016. And we expect that number to be materially higher again in 2018, as the new surgery centers we opened this year place heavy emphasis on orthopedics.”
Bishop said he was particularly pleased with Regent’s growth in light of industry challenges this year. “Due to uncertainty in the healthcare market, this year’s industrywide case volumes were very challenged,” he said. “Historically, surgical volume overall has grown 2-4%, but in 2017, due to the Trumpcare vs Obamacare debate and continued growth of high deductible insurance plans driving consumer hesitancy, there was a volume constriction of 2-3%. The good news is, our growth strategy worked, and Regent will far exceed the industry average.”
Another important strategic development for Regent in 2017 was the company’s investment and leadership in the trend away from fee-for-service billing models toward bundled payments – now the fastest growing payment type in healthcare, with projected growth of 6 percent over the next 5 years. As bundled payments begin to be embraced by both providers and payers, Regent is at the forefront: the company syndicated its first two bundled payment entities in 2017, working with physicians’ groups in Nevada and Oregon.
Bishop also outlined significant organizational strides for Regent in 2017, highlighting the company’s transition to an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) early in the year. “2017 was the first year we operated as an employee-owned company, and we have seen our margins expand, employee satisfaction survey scores improve, and our R.I.S.E. culture lived out better than ever before,” he said.
Bishop expressed his excitement about the growing strength of the Regent team, including:
- Thomas Crossen joined the company in Q4 as Chief Development Officer, charged with bolstering Regent’s growth efforts as the healthcare environment continues to evolve. Jay Colehour also joined the business development team as Vice President.
- Bob Ryan was promoted to Chief Operating Officer on the strength of proven abilities to drive value to both physician and hospital partners while strategically moving business forward. Stephanie Martin, CNOR, CASC, was promoted to Vice President of Operations.
- Erin Petrie joined as Director, Regent Revenue Cycle Management. Also within Regent RCM, both Luz Renteria and Irma Arellano were promoted to Revenue Cycle Supervisor.
- Kathy Horowitz, Administrator and Director of Nursing for The Center for Specialized Surgery in Ft. Myers, Fla., was named winner of the company’s first R.I.S.E. Administrator of the Year award for stellar performance in three areas: Profitability, Growth, and Satisfaction.
Outlook for 2018
Bishop is bullish about Regent’s prospects for growth in the year ahead. “We have a record size pipeline of new projects and new partnerships forming, in response to the quality of the Regent brand within the industry and the reputation for expertise in helping hospitals develop and execute their ambulatory strategies,” he said. “Value-based care is driving material change in the way we think about care delivery. We’ve just heard the announcement of CVS and AETNA potentially merging, and we’ve seen United Healthcare acquiring surgery centers and physicians’ practices, both examples of blurring lines as to who is payer and who is provider. Why? Insurance companies will no longer stand by and wait for health systems to deliver quality care in an efficient manner, so they are acquiring the capabilities themselves to move consumers to the lowest appropriate cost-setting. In 2018, hospitals will be challenged to figure out how they’ll respond and it is Regent’s intention to assist them in expanding their highest quality, lowest cost ambulatory platform .”