Hospitals: The number one goal for ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations) is to reduce costs. That is a requirement of hospitals to enjoy reasonable reimbursement for their services. Sadly, the deck is stacked against hospitals because they realistically cannot reduce costs, at least in the surgical arena. It just cannot be done in their current environment. Too high wages, unions, too many trauma cases, building codes, high acuity, and bureaucratic red tape; it is amazing they do as well as they do in todays environment.
From a surgical standpoint, hospitals must find a lower cost alternative to current in-house surgery. Quickly, outpatient surgery is going to reach 85% of all surgery performed in the U.S. can be safely performed within a facility that allows one or two overnight stays. However, this absolutely cannot be done cost effectively in the main hospital!
We work with many great hospitals and, while the administration sincerely tries, the pressure to cut costs in the surgical operating room is just too difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.
Therefore, hospitals are going to have to develop off-site, satellite surgical H.O.P.D. to become more efficient and cost effective. Earnhart & Associates has developed many of these centers already. They essentially function like a freestanding surgery center but without surgeon or corporate partnerships or ASC reimbursement that drain the profitability away from the hospital. These facilities can be built in a fraction of the time and expense of building out or expanding internal hospital outpatient surgical departments. We manage these surgical HOPDs like a for-profit ASCs with dedicated staff, build in physical efficiencies and surgeon involvement, but without ownership from us or surgeons!
Another goal of ACOs is patient satisfaction. Realistically, where do you think your patients will be happier? Fighting downtown traffic, scrambling for a parking spot, only to walk through the maze of the hospital corridors to find your surgical department? That, versus, a separate physical location, on your campus or in proximity to your hospital, but with essentially drive up service in a facility designed by us and dedicated to a positive patient experience – where you maintain 100% ownership, control, and reimbursement! Which scenario would your Board chose?
Do you need to build new? Most do, however, we have successfully converted existing ASCs in your area to surgical H.O.P.Ds by taking out the physician ownership and re-licensed the facility under your hospital license and obtaining Joint Commission accreditation.
Does it work? Absolutely! Call us and let’s discuss how it is done. We are with you every step of the way contributing our 26 years experience but without equity in YOUR surgical cases or facility!
ASCs. Their day in the sun is winding down as more and more hospitals actively compete against them. Capital is tight for ASCs and there are less and less entrepreneurial surgeons willing to risk it all in the face of massive healthcare changes. Most ASCs are and have been built with an exit strategy to sell to hospitals – eventually. That “eventually” is much closer than it was the month before the 2012 elections. ASC owners are lining up relationships with your local hospital. While there are many surgery centers near hospitals, there will only be a few that are chosen.
There are still things ASCs can do to remain profitable and flourish in the upcoming changes so it is not all bad. They will be patient, but also receptive to your call.