Health systems ramp up ASC developments

Health systems across the country are expanding their outpatient portfolios and forming joint ventures to develop more ambulatory surgery centers as care continues to migrate from inpatient to outpatient settings. 

Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health System is the latest health system to partner with an ASC operator. The 48-hospital system has teamed with Compass Surgical Partners to develop more than 30 ASCs across multiple states.

Compass will work with the health system to develop ASCs throughout its footprint, which includes Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New York and Florida. The network could expand into other states, such as North Carolina.

"Our view, over time, is that more complex procedures will come out of the hospitals," Compass President Sean Rambo told the Triangle Business Journal. "Health systems are wanting to catch up and use this strategy to expand outside of hospital walls."

In April, Columbus-based OhioHealth inked a similar deal with Nashville, Tenn.-based Surgery Partners — which has more than 180 outpatient facilities and 4,600 physicians — to grow ASC joint ventures across Ohio.

The partnership will use a phased approach for growth, beginning with expansion opportunities within the 50 counties OhioHealth serves, followed by an opportunity review of the remaining 38 counties. It will also foster relationships with top surgeons in the state and support physician independence

"To support our organization's desire to grow beyond our traditional geographic areas, to meet patients where they are in their health journey, and to partner with surgeons across the state, we needed the right management partner," said Brian Jepson, president of OhioHealth's central market.

Surgery Partners, one of the largest ASC chains in the U.S., also signed a collaboration agreement with Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health to manage the system's existing ASCs in Utah and Idaho and the development of surgery centers in other markets. 

Intermountain currently has five ASCs across Utah and plans to open more over the next year. This collaboration agreement will accelerate those efforts. 

"Combining [Surgery Partners'] expertise and experience with ours will add significant value for our surgery patients and caregivers and will establish an operating model upon which we can build as we continue to expand outpatient care at other locations," said Mike Clark, Intermountain's executive lead of ASCs.

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