The New Year is almost here, meaning it’s time to look back at the great progress we made in 2023 and prepare for the challenges and opportunities of 2024. The ambulatory surgery center (ASC) industry, while evolving rapidly, is poised for an exciting year ahead. Understanding the upcoming trends and challenges is essential for clinical, operational, and financial growth in the ASC sector. Here are the top three trends to watch for in 2024:
Trend #1 | Growing Pressures on ASC Leadership
ASCs continue to solidify their role in healthcare delivery, but they face increasing challenges such as:
- Unstable Financial Support: Management company bankruptcies often lead directly to ASC closures. A recent case is GenesisCare Surgical Specialists, a North Carolina-based ASC, which closed on October 20th following the bankruptcy of its private equity-backed management company, GenesisCare, in June.
- Low Patient Volumes: Many ASCs struggle to grow their caseloads. The Salem (Ore.) Outpatient Surgery Center, for instance, closed after just two years of operation due to consistently low patient volumes. Despite its efforts, the facility couldn't overcome the financial burden imposed by millions of dollars in construction costs.
- Leadership Upheavals: Unexpected turnover in leadership roles is not uncommon in ASCs. The Belmont Eye Clinic in Ohio, for example, closed its doors after more than 50 years of service following the death and departures of all three of its practicing physicians, leaving the clinic with no choice but to shut down in August of this year.
- Value-Based Care Transitions: The move from fee-for-service to value-based care models introduces significant changes in payment structures. ASC leadership now faces dual pressures: ensuring high-value care and adapting to novel billing practices.
Trend #2 | The Evolving and Unpredictable Workforce
Staffing remains a significant hurdle for ASCs. With less competitive salaries compared to larger hospitals, ASCs struggle to recruit and retain necessary staff to keep up with operational demand. An alarming 31% of employees are considering leaving their current roles by 2024, with some planning to retire or change career paths. This trend underscores the urgency of addressing workforce challenges in the coming year.
Trend #3 | The Revenue-Driving Power of RCM Technology
Technological advancements are revolutionizing ASC operations, particularly in revenue cycle management (RCM). Implementing RCM technology can lead to more efficient billing and coding processes, reduced claims errors, and quicker reimbursements. Automation plays a vital role in improving A.R. management and reducing aging balances. Automated solutions streamline billing, enhance payment posting speed, assist in denial management, and facilitate data-driven decision-making.
The Way Forward for ASCs in 2024
Embracing technological advancements is crucial for ASCs to thrive in 2024 and beyond. These innovations not only streamline operations but also strengthen financial resilience. However, maintaining human connections is equally important for enhancing patient engagement. Partnering with a technology-based RCM team can alleviate staffing challenges while boosting patient satisfaction and profitability. Proactive adaptation and planning are key to navigating the evolving landscape of ASCs successfully.
Need help positioning your ASC for success in 2024? in2itive is here to assist with our future-proofed, results-driven solutions, tailored to meet the unique challenges of your facility. Let’s talk!