3 Ways Surgery Center Physicians Can Increase Case Volume

Here are three ways surgery center physicians can increase case volume.

1. Aggressively recruit other physicians. The most important contribution ASC physicians can make is recruiting other physicians, says Augusto Alinea, MD, medical director of the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Stevens Point. His surgery center competes with the local hospital for physicians, and some local providers are hesitant to come to the ASC if their practice has a relationship with a competing entity. "By and large, we've been able to bypass those roadblocks," Dr. Alinea says. In order to recruit other physicians, he recommends your current providers keep an eye on the local market and call up physicians without prior commitments to other facilities. "We're very familiar with the people in the area since we've worked with all of them at one time or another," he says. "We invite them to sit down with us, and we show them the [ASC] and how we practice, which is new to a lot of them."

Your physicians are the best resource you have for recruiting new partners and providers, says Connie Casey, administrator of Northpoint Surgery and Laser Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. She says her physicians work as a team to bring new surgeons to the center, and they also team up to handle physicians who start taking their cases elsewhere. "That's what makes my center work," she says. "I have so many friends who run surgery centers, and their doctors all fight and don't work with each other. My doctors work as a team."

2. Add new procedures to existing physicians' repertoire.
Dr. Alinea says his surgery center builds volume by establishing new procedures for existing physicians. "For example, I'm a pain specialist, and instead of just doing one or two types of procedures, I've expanded my practice to add new ones," he says. Take a look at your existing physicians, and determine where your ASC could add cases without having to spend too much money on overhead.

Ms. Casey says when her ASC first opened in 1996, physicians brought in cases indiscriminately and quickly realized they could lose money with that strategy. To make sure the center performed profitable cases, Ms. Casey and her team looked closely at the financials for each potential case and decided to focus the bulk of their volume on the most profitable procedures. Once they established that orthopedics and ENT would bring in the most money, they could tailor their scheduling and recruitment to depend on those specialties.

3. Consider procedures that are new to the outpatient setting. As new technologies develop, more cases become appropriate for the ASC that may have been limited to the inpatient setting in the past. Dr. Alinea says your ASC should watch for cases that have recently moved from the hospital to the surgery center setting. "To increase caseload, we've started doing traditionally inpatient procedures as outpatient," he says. "We started doing total knee arthroplasty." He says adding a traditionally-inpatient procedure takes some creativity on the part of the ASC administrator and nurse manager, as the center will need new equipment, extended patient care and education and a strict selection process to guarantee all patients are ASC-appropriate.

Read more on increasing case volume in the ASC:

-3 Ways Ravine Way Surgery Center Increased Spine Case Volume

-4 Ways to Enhance Referral Relationships and Boost Surgical Volume

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