Improving Profitability of Spine Programs Revolves Around Surgeon CommitmentWritten by Bob Herman | June 14, 2011
In a presentation at the 9th Annual Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference in Chicago on June 10, John Caruso, MD, and Jeff Leland, CEO, Blue Chip Surgical Partners discussed challenges and best practices to improve the profitability of spine surgery centers.
Mr. Leland said spine is the area of quickest growth in ASCs currently. In order to keep spine centers operating successfully, Dr. Caruso recommended that spine surgeons treat everyone with respect, standardize techniques and supplies and fully understand center operations. "The centers that fail are disconnected," Dr. Caruso said. "We have to understand the metrics that are placed for us, and we have to be responsible for the costs of our healthcare."
Dr. Caruso said those "costs of healthcare" include controlling implant costs as well as maintaining quality and access to spine care.
Most spine-driven ASCs will experience challenges around surgeon selection, anesthesia and contracting, Mr. Leland said. Despite the obstacles, Dr. Caruso said ASCs are the ideal model for spine care at the moment. Approximately 17 percent of people will have some type of musculoskeletal issue in their lifetime, and ASCs can perform spine procedures at a lower cost than the hospital. Implementing newer, cost-effective procedures and managing fixed costs — such as leasing a surgery center to pain physicians — can help an ASC incorporate spine as a specialty, Dr. Caruso said.
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