If you have been keeping up with the latest CMS regulations, you understand it is a completely new environment for surgery centers and hospitals. Accordingly, it is important to start planning for what is ahead:

  • Consider adding space. Assess your facility and the possibility of adding more space for extra operating rooms, recovery beds, and overnight stay suites.
  • Consider adding capital. Expanding the facility’s physical footprint or buying more equipment means finding more capital. If your current surgeon investors cannot or do not want to invest more money, turn to outside, non-physician investors. I recently added $750,000 from private, non-physician individuals. It took two days to secure the commitments. The money is out there, you just have to ask.
  • Expand procedures. Total joint, hip, knee, and shoulder procedures are evolving and expanding rapidly. But do not miss opportunities in spine (on a grander scale), cardiology, and even transplants.
  • Market to surgeons. Many surgeons do not use surgery centers because the bulk of their procedures cannot be performed in ASCs. But as regulations update, that situation will evolve. Start searching for surgeons looking for a change of scenery.
  • Market to the public. The public also needs to be aware what is happening at your facility. Use your website to connect with patients with updates on what is happening not just in your facility but also in the surrounding area. Make your website educational and informative.
  • Shoot for the stars. Don’t self-limit the procedures you think can be performed in your ambulatory surgery center. Remember that hospitals are bricks and sticks with the right equipment, training, and resources. You can be that, too — with the right motivation.
  • Expand your asset portfolio. We work with many clients who own multiple surgery centers in the same town. For many clients, they started by building one center years ago that could not be expanded. Eventually, they added a second facility to handle another specialty. Others wanted to add a facility so they could be close to more clients in another part of town. Still others wanted to work on a project with a new group of surgeon investors. Imagine the resources available to you with two, three, or even more surgery centers under one partnership.
  • Invest in staff. Staff will not stay with your organization simply because they like you. Instill confidence and excitement with incentives. A 15% pay increase is one option; profit-sharing is a better one.
  • Create a timeline. Remember that an idea or plan is worthless without a timeline. Be realistic in what you can and cannot achieve.

Be excited about 2021. Avoid negative news, and focus on the positive without the distraction of hyperbole. Work on things you can change that make a difference in your workplace.

(Earnhart & Associates is a consulting firm specializing in all aspects of outpatient surgery development and management. Address: 5114 Balcones Woods Drive, Suite 307-203, Austin, TX 78759. Phone: (512) 297-7575. Fax: (512) 233-2979. Email: searnhart@earnhart.com. Web: www.earnhart.com. Instagram: Earnhart.Associates.)