April 15, 2020

ASC Industry Awareness

ASCs Support the Restraining Effort at Significant Cost

We add our voices to so many, like my young next-door neighbors in the picture, saluting doctors, nurses, hospitals, and surgery centers for your many sacrifices over the past month. CMS adjusted rules to give surgery centers more flexibility so they can expand surge capacity to treat Covid-19 patients. Many ASCs have closed or nearly so to preserve protective equipment. Several have experienced significant elective surgery or business losses, leading to furloughs or layoffs. Some ASCs are offering drive-thru testing, some are donating ventilators and essential supplies, and others are cross-training staff to address changes brought on by the pandemic. Thank you!

ASCs and OBSs Are Repositioning for Growth

Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) and Office-Based Surgeries (OBSs) have been on a steady growth path the past few years. Our current national health emergency will accelerate that growth. Growth will be driven by the increasing cost burden of health conditions, a large older demographic, and technology that enables more surgeries to be performed in outpatient centers. Even when hospitals dominate a market, outpatient surgery centers are still finding space to operate. Centers, like this one in New Jersey, are offering state of the art total joint replacement surgeries. Even now, outpatient surgery centers are opening new spaces. ASCs and OBSs are more convenient and are seen as lower-exposure risks, which in our current environment sharpens the drive to move approved surgeries to outpatient centers and away from hospitals.


Healthcare Industry Trends

Healthcare Makes Quick Moves toward Telemedicine

Telemedicine is another aspect of healthcare in the United States that has been biding its time. Its days of waiting appear to be over. The flexibility, scalability, and social distance that are serving people well during the pandemic have moved telemedicine front and center. Spine, orthopaedic, and podiatric practices have been expanding telemedicine options during the pandemic. See how Dr. Miguel Cunha, a prominent New York City podiatrist, demonstrates how telemedicine works in this TV video. Relatively few Americans have tried telemedicine and yet the majority are open to it, finding the convenience and safety of it appealing. The problem with telemedicine in the US has been getting it reimbursed. Changes during the coronavirus epidemic are pushing telemedicine forward as a solution that will be reimbursed regularly. The FCC has adopted a telehealth program in its response to Covid-19. CMS has updated its guidance on Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine. Legal and medical experts now believe that telemedicine is here to stay.

Healthcare Price Transparency… Almost

Price transparency has been on the national healthcare radar for several years. There is nothing quite like a crisis to push us where we would not normally go…and quickly. The White House pressed Congress to include healthcare price transparency as a piece of the coronavirus package it passed as the CARES Act. A high percentage of Americans clearly want price transparency to help them in making financially informed decisions about their healthcare. National efforts to create more price transparency fell short this time and will have to wait for another day.


Healthcare Digital Transformation Watch

Contact Tracing…New Term, New Partners, New Concerns

Several different technologies are now in vogue across Asia to fight the coronavirus outbreak. So great is the opportunity in the US, that Apple and Google are joining forces as new collaborators seeking to deploy contact tracing apps that track the coronavirus through smartphones. Contact tracing apps can use Bluetooth technology to inform users when they are within a certain distance of a person infected with the coronavirus. The question remains, is it a tool that curtails spread without causing a privacy nightmare that remains long after the virus?



Flexibilities to Fight Covid-19

   by Jon Sistare, JD, Contego Attorney

Clearly, everyone in the US and around the world is consumed by the impact and effect of Covid-19 on our daily lives and what the future holds. We are all effected by it, no industry more so than healthcare. We need the skills and courage of everyone involved in the healthcare industry to help us through this unprecedented time. It cannot go unsaid that every healthcare provider, doctor, nurse, emergency medical technician – ANYONE – who has provided care or will provide care deserves our immense thanks and gratitude. This is a war-like setting and the ranks of healthcare providers are on the front lines fighting this insidious enemy. Thank you!

With regard to the legal aspect of healthcare and Covid-19 there is a mountain of information about the emergency orders and decisions which have taken place. One of the most interesting articles from the CMS can be found here.  This article will inform you on what temporary changes have taken place to provide help where it is needed. It is a must read article for any health practitioner.

The legal system is still at work, albeit at a much slower pace for now. Cases are still filed and litigation is still underway.  After the battle against the virus is won and we return our daily lives to something more normal, there will be a flood of lawsuits and litigation related to events that are taking place now. Some of the litigation will be important and intended to right the wrongs that take place. Unfortunately, some of it will be frivolous. We hope the frivolous will be mitigated.

Stay healthy and take care of your loved ones.  Again, our great appreciation to every healthcare worker in this country and around the world.


At a Glance

Doctors Now Without Borders in Many States
Increasing Flexibility for Doctors during the Healthcare Crisis

County-by-County Covid-19 Predictor Tool
Catch Dynamic Data on Spread and Containment in Every US County

CON Laws Likely to See Renewed Scrutiny
Pandemic Demonstrates Need for Some Redundancy in Healthcare System

70 Vaccines in Progress
Coronavirus Antibody Testing Begins

What Took So Long?
Crisis Jumpstarts America’s Innovation Engine

To subscribe or unsubscribe to ASCs in Motion, simply send an email request to info@contegollc.com.

Contego Website: https://contegollc.com