When opening an ambulatory surgery center, there’s lots of planning involved and many expenditures are required. To get your business started on the right foot, here are a few critical (but common) mistakes that can mean failure for your ASC:  

1. Lack of strategic planning. Surgery centers must have a strong strategic plan for success in the future. Your strategic plan should consider past, present and future to prepare you for anything that may happen.  New laws or regulations can impact reimbursement on worker’s compensations cases, Medicare, etc.  A big part of planning is diversifying your payor mix and negotiating payor contracts that will sufficiently cover the full cost of services rendered and ultimately, streamline healthcare costs for all.

2. Inefficient scheduling. OR volume. It’s the most critical vital sign for assessing how healthy your ambulatory surgical center is. Going up? That’s great! Going down? Better find out why and fix it! Too many patients, not enough operating rooms or, too many operating rooms, not enough patients, are the biggest problems an ASC can have. Inefficiencies at the surgery center are frustrating for surgeons bringing cases in and can cause them to shift their cases to another ASC or back to the hospital. Planning, tracking patients and have a devoted scheduling feed can help your center to get on top of scheduling issues before they even begin.  

3. Inconsistent staff. Surgery centers with high staff turnover are inefficient and may not work well with the surgeons. New staff will once again need to learn the inner-workings of the surgery center and there’s a learning curve.  Additionally, surgeons prefer to have the same operating room staff whenever possible so the procedures run more smoothly. Many surgery centers choose to pay by the hour and it takes extra hours for the new staff to understand procedure and exactly how each surgeon likes their OR.  

4. Ignorance of regulatory issues. 
Leaders at the surgery center should be aware of regulatory issues and make sure they are compliant in an ever-changing healthcare landscape. Surgery centers sometimes fail because they weren’t aware of non-compliance, and that’s an easy problem to fix. In addition to federal laws, there are individual state laws, and each procedure or business transaction your surgery center makes must be compliant. Administrators need to monitor and stay aware of changing regulations.  

What do you think are the biggest reasons ASCs fail?  Have a topic you want us to cover?  We’re always looking for input from YOU!  Make sure to subscribe to our blog and newsletter to get the best ASC news and industry trends.