June 21, 2022

Staffing, supply chain, lack of reimbursements are top issues for ASC leaders

By: Tarsilla Moura

Editor's Note

Becker’s ASC Review June 15 featured interviews with 17 ambulatory surgery center (ASC) leaders to discuss their day-to-day challenges. The most pressing issues that emerged were staffing concerns (11 out of the 17 interviewed cited staffing), supply chain obstacles, and mitigating rising costs against less reimbursements.

Here are some details on these challenges and how these leaders are trying to solve them, curated from Becker’s:

  • Staffing “remains a consistent concern and challenge” that requires leaders to “demonstrate a team-friendly and caring environment and create a “communication-centric, team-oriented, positive, upbeat environment” staff.
  • Other tactics include offering flexible time for workers who can cover shifts during flex time, convert part-time and per diem employees to full-time, negotiate longer shifts for available staff, work with surgeons to manage block times, and even opening weekend block times to help with the availability pool.
  • Supply chain is the “no. 1 obstacle,” and the “continual onslaught of difficulty obtaining random but necessary items for patient care is a grind.” Materials managers should communicate issues daily so management can collectively tackle them as they arise.
  • Other tactics include increasing the budget reserve for essential supplies instead of buying when needed, if possible, and staying “in tune with the daily changes in emergency management” in each state in question.
  • Reimbursements: “The other big hurdle is declining reimbursements with skyrocketing costs,” which “makes the need for careful materials management essential in these slim margins.” ASC reimbursement rates are “notoriously and appallingly lower than hospital reimbursement rates.”
  • As more surgeons and providers “recognize that ASCs are more efficient, they move their patients to those settings over a hospital-based facility; patients prefer the convenience and lower out-of-pocket costs typically seen at an ASC.”

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