Industries of all sizes and services are continuing to strategize their recovery efforts after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this past year. Every industry was impacted in some way, and many continue to invest in ways to resuscitate and stabilize their bottom line as a result of the interruptions.
The restrictions on elective, outpatient surgeries that were put in place for healthcare systems in order to keep beds and operating rooms open delivered a hard blow to provider’s bottom lines this past year. Despite the shift in how and where business was conducted in order to maintain safety protocols that were put in place, it did accelerate interest in financial investments and industry trends. Prior to the pandemic, the trend of healthcare systems and medical tech manufacturers acquiring or partnering with ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) was growing but saw an increase post pandemic.
“Health systems continue to invest in ambulatory surgery centers. While reimbursement rates are typically significantly lower than the inpatient setting, ASCs provide lower-cost alternatives and free up inpatient capacity,” according to Modern Healthcare.
This accelerated growth was in response to healthcare leaders needing to find an effective way to recoup lost revenue, avoid similar financial disruptions in the future, and have a way to provide their patient base with a more cost-efficient and an alternative route to outpatient procedures. This trend is also one that many payers are in support of since outpatient procedures at surgery centers are typically less expensive than if they took place within a traditional hospital setting. In conjunction with this growing trend, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final Outpatient Prospective Payment System rule. This update added 267 additional surgical procedures eligible for reimbursement starting in 2021.
When it comes to preparing for a surgical procedure, the patient experience is an important component to keeping unnecessary stress at bay. There are a number of benefits for patients that enhance their overall healthcare experience when utilizing an ASC.
Benefits of Ambulatory Surgery Centers
An ambulatory surgery center is an outpatient healthcare facility that provides same-day surgical care and other important diagnostic procedures. Some of the procedures that are practiced at an ASC include, colonoscopies, cataract surgeries, biopsies, and fetal non-stress test, just to name a few. However, unlike a conventional hospital setting, which can sometimes result in patients needing to check in for an overnight stay or two, ASCs can usually offer a faster discharge care plan, more cost efficiency, and an overall better experience for patients.
More often than not, there are more ASC location options and are easier to access when compared to a conventional hospital setting. Within the conventional hospital setting, many patients can run into longer wait times when scheduling a specific procedure or test. This can seriously impact the patient experience if the procedure that needs to be conducted will alleviate a patient’s discomfort. Outpatient surgery centers tend to have more flexibility over the scheduling of elective surgeries. As a result of this flexibility, very few procedures or tests are delayed or rescheduled. Due to this scheduling flexibility found at most ASCs, providers are often able to be more accessible to their patients and offer a more personalized pre and post-operative care approach. This level of interaction not only enhances patient satisfaction, it can improve a patient’s overall health outcome.
Another difference between scheduling an outpatient procedure at an ASC compared to a conventional hospital is the overall price of care. The price difference is only because of the structure of the outpatient surgery centers and their augmented productivity. Due to this difference in structure and design, ASC don’t have the same expenses and costs as other conventional hospitals. This difference in structure is what allows patients to save money on procedures and usually lower deductibles or coinsurance payments. In 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated savings of $15 billion to taxpayers and $3 billion to Medicare patients if all qualifying surgeries were performed at the outpatient surgery centers.
Signature Performance is Transforming the Healthcare Industry
COVID-19 has proven to be a catalyst for the healthcare industry. As the recovery process from COVID-19 continues, the healthcare industry has a big opportunity to make lasting change. An innovative approach is needed to streamline the experience for providers, payers, and patients now more than ever. Implementing an efficient workflow design that simplifies the demands of the healthcare administrative industry and appeals to the new desires of consumers will ensure that the healthcare system infrastructure post pandemic can weather future disruptions and can improve upon current processes.
Investing in a partnership that uses the latest technology and has the in-house expertise to navigate unique challenges from a variety of industry perspectives can make a long-term impact on how essential administrative tasks within healthcare, including ambulatory surgery centers, are handled. Signature Performance is improving not only our clients’ business but the entire healthcare industry by finding better ways to leverage technology and industry-leading processes which lower the cost of healthcare administration.
To learn more about how Signature Performance can help you or to request a consultation, contact our team today or follow along on our Facebook and Instagram pages to learn more about Signature Performance’s vision.
Rick Pane is the Chief Financial Officer at Signature Performance Inc., in Omaha, NE. Signature Performance is an industry leader in reducing healthcare administration costs for private and public healthcare sectors. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.