5 Ways Pennsylvania's Doylestown Surgery Center Saved $400K

In 10 months, Kate Rock, administrator of Doylestown Surgery Center in Warrington, Pa., reduced expenses in her ambulatory surgery center by $400,000 over the previous calendar year, ending 2010 with the most positive bottom line for the ASC in many years. Here are five ways she took her center from financial and administrative failure to stability.

1. Reviewed and reevaluated staffing. According to Ms. Rock, the center was overstaffed clinically for the number of cases it was performing. Many centers run into financial trouble when the number of staff members needed per case is not compared to the number of staff members on the payroll. "We now look at staffing daily and weekly to maintain proper levels based on case volume," she says. "We eliminated part-time business office positions and fully reorganized the business office to meet new standards and procedures." Through cutting positions and adjusting staffing volume when necessary, the center cut $160,000 in payroll in 10 months.

2. Reviewed every vendor contract. If your ASC is struggling financially, sit down and look at every single vendor contract. Ms. Rock reviewed every contract for possible savings and ended up renegotiating pricing or moving to another vendor. This tactic achieved cost savings in a variety of areas, including linens, medical and surgical supplies, instruments, implants, employee benefits and professional insurance.

3. Added four new surgeons. As long as your surgeons are bringing profitable cases to the center, physician recruitment can give your revenue an enormous boost. In 2010, Ms. Rock and her team added four new surgeons and purchased new equipment so the surgery center could add new procedures.

4. Started reprocessing single-use instruments. According to federal regulations, reprocessed devices go through an extensive decontamination, inspection and sterilization process that makes them safe and effective. Ms. Rock says by reprocessing single-use items, the surgery center realized savings immediately. In the first year of reprocessing, the ASC saved at least $40,000.

5. Communicated with physician leaders. Whether you're discussing supply and equipment standardization, cost-cutting in the operating room, staffing cuts or technology implementation, strong communication between administrators and physician leaders is essential. Sit down with physician leaders on a regular basis to outline the center's goals and discuss physician involvement. "The relationship between the physicians and the rest of the staff is extraordinary as everyone is treated with respect and dignity," Ms. Rock says. "Attention to quality, safety and compassion is part of our culture."

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