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Is Chronic Pain Management Right for Your ASC?
Understand the procedural trends, staffing needs and complex reimbursement landscape before adding this surging specialty
Jared Bilski | Managing Editor
Publish Date: March 16, 2022   |  Tags:   Pain Management Financial Management Staffing Industry Trends
Dr Cohen
MULTIPLE OPTIONS Injections make up a large part of most chronic pain management programs, but most facilities offer an array of additional procedures such as radiofrequency lesioning and implant placements.

Running a successful chronic pain management program demands striking a delicate balance between efficiency and efficacy. Much like other programs that specialize in high-volume procedures — such as colonoscopies and cataracts — a pain service line often centers around the breakneck pace of maximum throughput. In fact, a busy pain physician could easily perform 25 to 30 15-minute procedures in a day, according to Edgar L. Ross, MD, director of Brigham and Women’s Pain Management Center in Chestnut Hill, Mass. “That’s the kind of volume you need to make this service line worthwhile,” says Dr. Ross, who is also an associate professor at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge. 

However, unlike the largely predictive results of high-volume surgeries, treating pain is rarely a one-dimensional proposition. It’s a misconception that does a great disservice to pain physicians who are sarcastically referred to as “needle jockeys” because of the number of injections they perform and the patients who greatly benefit from diverse chronic pain programs. “The comprehensive treatment of pain needs to involve physical therapy, sometimes psychological therapy and, with increasing numbers of patients, interventional procedures and medication management,” says Dr. Ross. Running a successful chronic pain service line is a complex, nuanced endeavor that requires plenty of due diligence on the part of facility leaders. Here’s an overview of the key considerations.

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