Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some really exciting changes happening in our industry. Hopefully, you are up to date on the CMS changes regarding hospital-based vs. ASC-based surgical procedures and are gearing up. The chance to perform many new procedures is a game changer for everyone.

However, just because you can perform a hip replacement in an ASC now does not mean your facility can afford it. We are working with clients who are preparing for adding these new procedures. They are sending staff to training webinars, buying equipment, talking with architects about expansion, and blowing the dust off their state regulations. Consider these costs when preparing for expanding your procedures list.

Additionally, not every orthopedic surgeon wants to perform total hip procedures in an ASC. Many still are struggling with total knee surgery. Many total hip patients present with comorbidity issues that will not meet patient selection criteria, nor the surgeons’ comfort level. If you are in the market for total hip equipment, perhaps wait a little longer until your facility has shored up its policies and procedures and gauged interest from local surgeons.

Besides total hip surgery, there are many other orthopedic procedures CMS opened for ASCs in 2021. Most of these do not require the same equipment upgrade or prosthesis as total hip replacement. Talk with orthopedic surgeons about what procedures they are comfortable with or excited about.

It is critical to secure commitment from surgeons before investing time and money in preparing facilities for newly approved procedures. Surgeons can provide valuable input on equipment needs. Remove as many barriers to performing these cases in your ASC as possible. Once you have secured commitments and resources, move forward quickly. It is likely other centers in your area are courting surgeons to perform these new procedures, too. Do not let this exciting development pass you by. Be aggressive, but be smart.

(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.)