As healthcare evolves daily, some crucial challenges remain for ASCs. What does the 2020 landscape hold? Consider these key challenges and what to do about them.

The Final Payment rule

In fall 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2020 Final Payment rule. The rule shows that ASCs will increasingly handle more high acuity procedures, especially joint replacements. Some other key takeaways include more types of surgeries (joint replacements being one), a 2.6% increase in reimbursements on procedures that meet specific quality requirements, and a new claims-based measure regarding hospital visits after an ASC surgery. The increase in joint replacement surgeries at ASCs means boosting volumes and revenues—always a benefit. However, with an increase in surgery comes an increased need for staffing.

What about recruitment?

A recent survey showed that over 1 in 5 current ASC leaders plan to retire by 2023. And research has found that many younger surgeons are recruited to large practices immediately after residency. This means that many ASCs will be faced with significant recruitment challenges in the next few years.

This challenge must be met with creativity. Think about how you communicate with patients—can you use some of these same strategies to recruit and attract new surgeons or nurses? As many ASCs experience the benefits of going digital with patient communication, consider how to go digital with marketing efforts to attract younger clinicians. Also key is improving physician retention rates, especially by building staff relationships and boosting internal morale.

Patient experience surveys

Right now, many ASCs are looking for ways to demonstrate that their quality of care is equivalent to a hospital setting. One way to do this is by participating in the CAHPS patient experience survey. While these surveys provide valuable insight into quality measures, they can also identify communication gaps, gaps in education, training, and patient safety. Solving the problems these surveys highlight takes a focused, strategic effort.

Getting more buy-in

For patients to choose ASCs, they must be educated on the safety, quality, and benefits of outpatient surgery. Especially when considering procedures like joint replacements, many patients worry that an outpatient setting may not be as safe as staying in the hospital. To overcome this barrier, ASCs must collect robust data and analytics to share with patients. And they must communicate that data with patients in an accessible way, such as through an easy-to-use, digital communications platform.

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