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Jackson's Physicians Surgery Center expanding to meet demand for outpatient procedures

With patients seeking care that is affordable, competent and convenient, the demand for 'one-stop shopping' healthcare is causing many outpatient facilities to take note and step-up to meet the growing demand. Improved post-operative pain management has reduced length of stay and allowed more procedures to head into the outpatient setting. Better minimally invasive surgical techniques are also encouraging these procedures to go outpatient. With a growing list of traditionally inpatient surgical cases migrating to the outpatient setting, Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) are expanding their list of specialties that utilize their facilities.

On the cost side of the equation, patients are becoming more familiar with how to compare charges and costs in different settings, and the expansion of high deductible and health savings account plans continue the demand for greater charge transparency and lower costs. Also, from the payer side, the increase in self-insured plans is driving greater utilization of low-cost, high-quality outpatient providers. To meet the demand placed of their facility, many ASC are expanding and updating their facilities.

"Physician-owned surgery centers are one of the key solutions to the crisis of rising healthcare costs, consistently exceeding the standard of care and producing savings for patients and insurers alike," said Sean Neel, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist and the medical director of Physicians Surgery Center. "I am eager to see how the next evolution of Physicians Surgery Center will further impact Jackson and the broader West Tennessee community for the good of the people who live and work here."

Physicians Surgery Center is in the process of a 25,000-square foot expansion that will result in a dual-use facility that will also expand its surgical capacity. When it was originally built in 1995, the center was licensed for six operating suites but only four were built. The expansion will bring the center to its original licensed capacity of six surgical suites. The project will increase the lobby, patient family waiting areas, pre- and post-operative areas to provide a more spacious and comfortable environment for patients and their families. It will also provide for additional privacy suites for patients in need of longer monitoring and more acute care.

Donna Klutts

"We are focusing our expertise on orthopedics, ophthalmology and plastics sustaining a culture of patient-centric care. Freestanding ambulatory surgery centers are small businesses," said Donna Klutts, interim administrator for Physicians Surgery Center. "Patients do not automatically walk through our doors. They elect to come to our facility and the product they come for is excellent, personalized patient care. Healthcare has and will continue to trend toward consumerism and more customer choice. High deductible plans are encouraging people to shop around not only for lower prices but specific outcomes. We strive to provide that by specializing in only a few areas."

In an article published by Modern Healthcare in July 2017, Medicare is reviewing how performing total joint replacements in ambulatory surgery centers can save billions. Over 400,000 Medicare beneficiaries had these procedures performed in 2014. Not everyone would be a candidate to have the surgery performed in an ASC, due to their health, but the savings on even some are considerably more in the surgery center, at times more than one-half of what it costs in a hospital setting.

The emerging outpatient delivery model is driven by both patients' and payers' desire to reduce their costs, increase convenience and satisfaction and diminish the risk of hospital-acquired infections. Many traditionally inpatient procedures are finding their way into the outpatient setting due in part to advances in surgical techniques, anesthesia and pain control.
A growing number of surgeons around the country are moving more of their total joint replacement procedures out of the hospital and into outpatient facilities. Some are sending their patients home within a few hours, while others have their patients recover overnight in the surgery center or hospital during 23-hour stays. The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association says close to 40 centers around the country are performing outpatient joint replacements and that number is expected to rise.

According to Modern Healthcare, outpatient total joint replacement is expected to increase 457 percent for knee replacements and 633 percent for hip replacements nationally in the next decade. Cost may be a driving force behind this growth as the cost of an outpatient total joint can run "roughly half as much" as inpatient procedures.

"Each year, physicians perform more than 23 million procedures in ambulatory surgery centers as there are more than 5,000 Medicare-certified centers across the United States. Surgery centers have the potential to save Medicare an additional 57.6 billion dollars over the next decade as procedures shift to a more minimally invasive approach and surgical outpatient trends evolve," said Klutts. "Continued cost pressures, value based outcomes and episodic payment structures will drive procedures to the ambulatory surgery center setting."


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