How outpatient orthopaedics can benefit from ASC management partnerships

dr. hunter

With the advancements in total joint replacement surgery, more procedures are moving to an outpatient setting and starting the conversation of why to consider a surgery center management partnership.

“I think it’ll be commonplace 10 years from now where, if you have reasonably good health and you have a total knee or total hip, it will be done in a completely outpatient setting,” said AMSURG physician partner Lee Hunter, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon at the Surgery Center of Middle Tennessee. “[The] spine is not really my level of expertise, but I think many cervical disc fusions and standard lumbar cases, including some fusions, may be done as an outpatient surgery.”

Hunter offers valuable advice for practitioners who are interested in offering outpatient procedures in their facilities.

“As new procedures are done in an outpatient setting, there is a little bit of a learning curve, and there are certainly things that are easier to accomplish and things that are harder to accomplish. So I would say do something that you know is going to work,” Hunter said.

“Make sure you’re well prepared, those around you are well prepared, and basically plan for the worst. Make sure that your follow-up care, if there’s a rehab stay involved, is seamless and lined up before it comes to the launch day.”

Even with the best preparations in place, Hunter warns that there are will still be obstacles, and this is where it helps to have a surgery center management company partner to aid in that transition.

“If the partner takes over operational day-to-day management, either in conjunction with the physician team or completely takes it over, I think that lets the physicians practice medicine and worry less about the day-to-day issues, the hiring and the firing and the other things that go with the HR department,” Hunter said.

A corporate surgery center partner can make the transition of a procedure to the outpatient setting easier by providing best practices, necessary documentation and connections to physicians who have already made a similar transition. It can also provide centers and physicians with research and information to help them stay competitive with other centers.

“AMSURG has been very, very good at tracking data within their centers and comparing that to data, available data nationally,” Hunter said. “We’re benchmarked, our center, to every other AMSURG center. We can compare that data. We compare our data on costing, what it costs for a suture anchor from this company here versus a suture anchor from the same company out in California, and all that is very, very useful as we negotiate contracts and really see where we stand. So I think AMSURG has been very useful [in providing] that data we otherwise wouldn’t be able to get.”

Click here to watch the complete interview with Dr. Hunter. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and be notified when AMSURG physician partners discuss surgery center insights and their experiences with an AMSURG partnership.