May 25, 2023



It’s a Vision Thing

Look Before You Leap

Stay Ahead of the Curve With Partnerships That Offer Key Support - Sponsored Content

Listen Before You Build

Bon Secours Mercy Health, Compass Surgical Partners Join to Develop ASCs


It’s a Vision Thing

Planning a new surgery center requires clear goals and inclusive collaboration to optimize success.

HipKimberly Bartosiak
TEAM EFFORT To get an orthopedic surgery center running harmoniously, it takes significant planning and preparation up front from a variety of voices.

A decade ago, Taylor Cera, MBA, chief operating officer at Youngstown (Ohio) Orthopaedic Associates and The Orthopaedic Surgery Center, and his business partner wrote out some goals on a sheet of paper. A decade later, all of those goals have been achieved.

“We’ve recruited and hired an array of fellowship-trained musculoskeletal (MSK) surgeons, we’ve built and launched a state-of-the-art ASC, and now we will be connecting that surgery center to a 36,000-square-foot MSK office building, forming the first MSK-only campus in the county,” he says. “We’ve also endured many failures along the way, but regardless of the scope of those failures, our vision has remained constant.”

For the past decade, Mr. Cera has witnessed and benefitted from the unceasing, ever-increasing stream of surgeries flowing from inpatient hospitals to outpatient facilities, and the resulting cost savings that have come with it for the healthcare system. He believes ASCs will only continue to grow in importance in the American healthcare system, while becoming even more lucrative for owners who continue to innovate and push the industry forward.

“With individuals being asked to shoulder more of the financial responsibility for their medical care, they are increasingly turning to surgery centers for help,” he says. “Payers, too, are increasingly recognizing the many benefits of the efficient surgical care that facility leaders have been broadcasting for years. Through strong data analytics, the cost savings and quality care that ASCs provide are becoming undeniable.”

Mr. Cera says payers and ASCs now better understand each other’s needs and are increasingly aligned in their missions. “More than ever before, payers are open to transparent discussions about how to drive value,” he says, adding that technological advances in anesthesia and pain control techniques, along with innovative equipment such as surgical robots, are consistently driving improved efficiency and creating even more value for ASCs. “Creative relationships with industry partners now allow those of us in the ASC space to acquire technology like robotic platforms that previously had only been available to major hospitals,” he notes.

He says a big key to success for owners and leaders when planning and building a new ASC is to avoid the trap of thinking you know what you don’t actually know. “There are countless opportunities for visionary leaders to capitalize on growth in the surgery center sector if they have the humility to admit they don’t have all the answers,” says Mr. Cera.

Another key, he says, is to respect, inspire and communicate clearly with everyone on your team. That feedback can refine your vision for a new center in positive ways, and lead to innovations that in many cases wouldn’t otherwise be conceived. “It’s one thing to have a vision of what your center can become, but it’s something else entirely to bring that vision to fruition,” says Mr. Cera. “Such an undertaking requires the unique perspective, expertise and respect of everyone on the team.”

Mr. Cera can’t wait for the next 10 years of his journey. “It’s a future of limitless possibility,” he says.

Look Before You Leap

Be sure you’ve thought of everything when planning a new ASC.

Hudson MCHudson Physicians
SURGERY AND MUCH MORE The new Valley Surgery Center is located inside the sprawling 155,000-square-foot Hudson Medical Center.

Proper preparation and planning cannot be overstated when designing and building a new ASC. Daniel Zismer, PhD, managing director and co-founder of Castling Partners, a healthcare advisory, management and development firm, offers these tips based on his experience as part of the team that opened Valley Surgery Center, which is part of a 155,000-square-foot, physician-owned, multispecialty ambulatory primary and secondary medical center in Hudson, Wis.

Appoint a project manager. “Your project manager should be available for weekly on-site meetings with the construction, architectural, project engineering and low-voltage wiring team leaders to monitor and problem-solve during the build,” says Dr. Zismer.

Don’t discount the idea of embedding the ASC within a larger facility. “It provides for a greatly enhanced patient and provider experience, while adding to the brand positioning strategy of the ASC,” says Dr. Zismer, noting that it also enhances the branding of the larger facility, in this case the Hudson Medical Center.

Focus on the overall size, as well as the number and types of rooms you need. This largely will depend on determining the case volume required for your ASC to operate profitably.

Plan for specialty design and construction considerations. Unique variables abound when planning a unique ASC, and they should all be accounted for before the build. “We identified five issues early on,” recalls Dr. Zismer. “First, higher-level vibration control to microsurgery control parameters was required for eye and minimally invasive back surgery. Second, the need for higher-level sufficiencies of ceiling load-bearing tolerances for specialized lighting was considered. Third, 23-hour care capability required specialized designs for two post-op care suites. Fourth, integration of robotics required specialized electrical design considerations. Fifth, radiation control was a consideration for procedure rooms.”

Dr. Zismer says that no matter if you are planning a large hospital or a small ASC, the foundational goal remains the same: “To effectively and affordably envelop and facilitate a defined mission, vision, strategy and business plan.”

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As the volume of surgeries in outpatient settings increase, business leaders in this changing market are looking ahead to lay out their plans to respond. Their aim is to accommodate the impending growth in patient caseloads and the evolution of options in surgical procedures as higher-acuity cases move into the outpatient environment.

In a recent Whitepaper, “Evolving Your Ambulatory Surgery Center Business,” sponsored by BD and based on a recent survey and published online by Outpatient Surgery Magazine, when asked if they expect more or less case volume post-pandemic in 2023, 67% of the respondents indicated they see more volume – a clear indication of the movement into this space. ASC leaders want to take advantage of this climate and move their businesses forward.

With more volume and adjustments to surgical procedures come the inevitable questions concerning how to manage more surgeries and how to plan for growth. Would it make sense to plan for a new build or add on to what already exists? Is it smart to renovate the existing space and not change the footprint of your facility? What equipment and products need to be added or reassessed?

While certain universal trends are impacting ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) across the country, ASC owners and outpatient surgery leaders are finding that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to growth and managing their businesses simply does not work. In fact, with the wide variety of ASCs, what they offer and what they plan to offer in the future is at the core of why a customized, flexible plan is a better fit. Key to this approach are industry partnerships that support customization and fully understand the challenges faced by every ASC to deliver quality patient care.

BD offers a host of solutions specifically dedicated to support and advance the growth of ASCs with a portfolio of category-leading products. The BD ASC Team works as a partner to improve clinical efficiencies and enhance patient care. Growth at an ASC is seen as an opportunity to expand and support surgical procedures across many specialties.

This partnership includes an individualized practice assessment and review of key practices to determine best steps for that facility. With a focus on technology, products and expert support, the BD ASC team offers comprehensive product training to increase ASC standardization and efficiency in this ever-changing market. With the continued growth in outpatient surgery, the support offered by BD can help move the market forward, one facility at a time.

Note: For more information on BD Ambulatory Surgery Center Solutions go to BD.

Note: For a copy of the BD Whitepaper, "Evolving Your Ambulatory Surgery Center Business," click here.

Listen Before You Build

Consult both staff and patients before you design a new center to create a winning surgical environment.

Robert Peake has led the building and renovation of perioperative facilities for nearly three decades at Atlantic Health System, one of New Jersey’s largest nonprofit healthcare networks. No matter if he’s dealing with a new construction project, overhauling an existing facility or overseeing a group that manages and maintains more than 400 sites of care including six hospitals, Mr. Peake understands the challenge of providing space that meets the needs of clinical teams while also satisfying patients.

Reflecting on his experience as Atlantic Health’s vice president of facilities management and real estate, he identifies some foundational keys to successful builds and renovations. He advises leaders not only to engage their clinical teams early in the project, but to obtain input from patients as well. “Actively listening” with an open mind to all of these stakeholders, he says, is crucial, especially because it can lead to enticing ideas that construction experts might not consider.

Even if that process doesn’t lead to outside-the-box innovation, Mr. Peake says this early engagement with staff and patients produces desired outcomes. Staff particularly appreciate when their voices, ideas and preferences are valued. “It’s incredibly rewarding when we complete a project to hear the clinical team comment on how the space helps them provide extraordinary care, and how they enjoy working in that space,” he says. “They appreciate the fact that we actively engage with them from the early stages of design.”

Mr. Peake has found that patients want facilities that exude a professional look, but not the cold, sterile, institutional feel characteristic of many older medical builds. Around the industry, he notes, waiting and common areas of new facilities look more like the lobbies of nice hotels than medical waiting rooms.

“I always look to design space that’s innovative and cutting edge, but also warm and inviting, which means incorporating highly technical equipment and infrastructure into space that feels comfortable and helps put patients at ease,” says Mr. Peake. “A hospital or ASC can be an intimidating, scary place. Our goal is to create space that reduces anxiety and stress for the patient. For us, that’s a home run.”

Providers likewise want the space to be comfortable, but also require highly advanced technology and functionally, with all the needed tools and infrastructure to provide the best possible care. “Temperature and humidity control, lighting, placement of equipment, and accessibility and versatility are crucial,” says Mr. Peake.

Mr. Peake’s comments exemplify that it takes a village to build a great surgical facility that truly meets the needs of both your clinicians and your patients.

Bon Secours Mercy Health, Compass Surgical Partners Join to Develop ASCs

Top 20 health system and ASC management company look to expand surgical access.

As the 2020s progress, the functional distinction between “ASCs” and “HOPDs” continues to blur. A notable example emerged earlier in May, as Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH), one of the 20 largest health systems in the U.S. and operator of 48 hospitals across several states, partnered with Compass Surgical Partners, an independent full-service ASC management company with deep experience in orthopedics and spine that has developed more than 250 ASCs, to expand BSMH’s ASC footprint.

BSMH views ASCs as a vehicle to expand patient access to surgical care by bringing it closer to the communities it serves; for pre- and post-op care to be more tailored to a particular procedure; and for its physicians to operate with their own teams in customized ORs. “The result is a patient-focused care model that is both convenient and cost-efficient in a setting that many physicians prefer,” the companies state in a press release.

“Compass Surgical Partners’ expertise in creating patient-centered ASCs, coupled with their successful track record of leadership in this important space, makes them an ideal partner for this long-term initiative,” says BSMH Chief Operating Officer Don Kline. Compass President Sean Rambo says the partnership will “amplify the impact both organizations have on bringing high-quality, affordable surgical care out into the community.”

The companies say the partnership involves multiple ASC projects set to launch this year, next year and beyond. There’s no word yet on exactly where and how many ASCs the companies will develop together, although they have already worked together on an ASC project.

Last December, the companies broke ground on Millennium Surgery Center, an ASC in Greenville S.C., that will offer orthopedic, spine and ENT procedures, along with robotic outpatient joint procedures. The 20,000-square-foot facility, which will house six ORs and two procedure rooms, is slated to open in 2024 on the Bon Secours St. Francis Millennium campus. The companies say Millennium Surgery Center will be accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and serve as the first ASC to offer outpatient robotic joint replacements in South Carolina’s Upstate region. OSM

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