Facing high levels of inflation and an economic downturn, ASCs are looking to find new ways to continue to succeed in the future. According to Sukdeb Datta, medical director of Datta Endoscopic Back Surgery and Pain Center in New York City, ASCs were adversely affected by government stimulus checks distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The artificial flow of government stimulus and its preferential flow to the big hospitals is a situation that was nonexistent in 2008 but has created real challenges this time around,” Datta told Becker’s. “To get out of this situation, ASCs have to be nimble and maybe move to a different reimbursement model.”
As a result of the current economic challenges, payors are bundling payments due to lower cost and improved patient outcomes. ASCs are also making changes, as it is becoming more common to see a shift toward value-based care models.
“The payers are now interested in discussing bundles on some of the higher spends that can be done in the outpatient setting,” Jeffrey Flynn, administrator, and COO of New York City-based Gramercy Surgery Center said. “With the bigger push to move procedures out of the hospital, many of us are in discussions for bundled payments with a boost in the reimbursement to bring it to a more cost-efficient setting.”
While some may have a bleak outlook for the future of the ASC market, others are optimistic about the future of these surgery centers. Becker’s notes that independent ASCs may have an even stronger future through their ability to offer ownership stakes and avoid management or purchasing fees.
Alejandro Badia, M.D., founder and chief medical officer at OrthoNow Immediate Orthopedic Care in Doral, FL, told Becker’s that despite supply chain disruptions and higher costs, the demand for care at ASCs remains high.
“I believe this is a testament to the great advantages afforded by independent ASCs,” Badia said. “The future is perhaps even brighter now.”