Traditionally speaking Ambulatory Surgical Centers or ASCs were units where surgeries which do not need hospital admission were performed. These units were used to treat patients who had already seen a healthcare provider and selected surgery as the appropriate treatment for their condition.
In a quest to achieve surging revenues year after year, many ASCs are considering the option of adding Spine Surgery to the list of services they offer due to the profitability it brings along. Surgery centers already involved in orthopedics can hugely benefit from this particular specialty because of the prior availability of much of the equipment specific for this kind of surgery.
This is going to ease things for patients traveling long distances to see a physician and be more cost-effective for cash-pay patients.
There are crucial aspects that you must consider before you decide to provide a spine surgery facility at an ASC:
To be equipped enough to take on Spine Surgery cases at your ASC; you need to have the equipment for it. Surgeons at your center may be used to working with instruments that are more suited to be at hospitals where higher levels of care is provided to the patients. In such cases, you need to be a part of an open discussion with the team of surgeons about the equipment you need and the budget allocated for it. After talking it out with your surgeon you will have a better idea as to what equipment needs to be purchased afresh and what already existing inventory can be put to uses and in what cases.
Considering the fact that the introduction of Spine Surgeries at ASCs is a fairly new development, a marketing campaign driven by patient education about its need to capture your local market. There is a need that patients come into a comfort zone about receiving care in an ASC followed by a shorter length of stay than what is expected at a hospital. A surgeon can host seminars to educate people about the surgery center and the Spine surgery services that you are to offer along with the safety procedures in place to guard the patients.
A peculiar requirement for the success of Spine surgeries in outpatient facilities is the use of different types of anesthetic blocks than which are used for other surgeries. The role of your anesthesiologist is to be comfortable with techniques the surgeon might request.
Outpatient facilities have a pre-approved procedure list that needs to be amended when new procedures are added. This requires the administrator to recommend to the medical advisory committee and a governing board that these procedures be added to the procedure list on behalf of the spine team and to seek approval for the change. An approval guarantees compliance with accrediting bodies and CMS.
Often centers have to face a lot of competition with local area facilities, and introducing this kind of procedure can make you stand out in front of insurers in the marketplace. As a rule, the payment is supposed to be secured prior to performing procedures in these centers. Most commonly ASCs get so trapped in focusing on the clinical performance that they end up overlooking reimbursements for these cases.
ASC billing is a complicated procedure based on each step of approval and billing. Data representation and proper education can help you effectively negotiate optimum case rates with the provider. Administrators also need to work with payers and surgeons to make implant costs as affordable as possible instead of a huge expense to be incurred by the ASC concerned. Determining your payer mix needs to be part of your financial strategy.