On Thursday, October 24, 2019, National Medical Billing Services CEO Nader Samii was a participant in the Keynote Panel: The Best Ideas for Growth Today at Becker’s ASC 26th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs. The moderator, Scott Becker, began by explaining that for about 10 years, there was almost zero growth in the amount of surgery centers. In the last 18 months or so, nearly 200 centers opened with just about 60 closing. The question, where is the growth coming from?
• Growth. One panelist stated there are 6,000 surgery centers and there will not be 6000 more since there are only so many independent doctors and so many independent surgery centers. The other panelists had a different take on growth opportunities. National Medical CEO Nader Samii said ASCs are seeing increases in cash per case and the growth is coming from more specialties coming to the ASC space – procedures such as ortho, spine, cardiology. Another panelist said that the criteria that defines growth is changing. It’s no longer just how many brick and mortar facilities you have – now you look at how many patient visits and how many procedures are being done. An aging population and technological advancements are what’s driving a lot of the growth in this space. It’s why a lot of these private are seeing an enthusiasm from private equity that are managing and affiliating with the physicians’ practices. At the end of the day, private equity provides another capitol source to the healthcare industry. Private equity firms are coming in. They see growth and high margin businesses.
• Private equity. Private equity investors are new stakeholders within the industry. It’s not just the surgery centers – patients, providers and payers all win. Look at it from a patient’s perspective, a payer’s perspective and from a provider’s perspective, surgery centers are a win, win, win. Patients have lower costs and get great personalized attention. Payers are saving significant dollars. Providers are getting convenience, scheduling and eliminating bureaucracy and can own equity in the center. It’s critical that you have a plan for that money. Is your private equity partner going to give you a strategic advantage? It’s good if you select your partner well, have a strategy in place. Private equity can bring some great volume to the market if it is utilized properly.
• What’s going well? It’s about having a well-run organization and a strong network of surgeons. Negotiating good contracts as a pure independent can be more challenging. Having effective managed care contracts is important to the success of the center. Make sure you are thinking about the right types of cases, the right mix, think about what specialties and pursuing areas that will generate a more profitable cash per case.
• Looking forward.
o Understand all the decision makers and what will be driving them.
o Have a plan – As an ASC, you are going to have to sit down and talk openly about what the next 5-10 years look like – who’s retiring, and you must plan for that. You need to have some degree of transparency for that to happen.
o You must create a patient experience and provide patient education. Developing an approach and a process to educate those patients and creating a wonderful, patient experience.
This post was first published October 26, 2019 and was updated July 29, 2020.