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ASCs’ Next Frontier

by Patsy Newitt, beckersasc.com

“Cardiology requires a lot of different equipment,” Prashanth Bala, chief of ambulatory surgical services at Shields Health in Quincy, Mass., told Becker’s. “

 

As high-acuity procedures continue to migrate to the outpatient setting, cardiology is one of ASCs’ biggest opportunities for growth.

Optum’s ASC chain, Deerfield, Ill.-based SCA Health, acquired at least two cardiovascular providers in 2023. National Cardiovascular Partners has 21 cardiac catheterization and vascular labs, and Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based Pivotal Healthcare has 11 affiliate practices and 14 locations. Additionally, Deltona, Fla.-based Advanced Heart and Vascular Surgery Center, an affiliate of Cardiovascular Centers of America, launched Florida’s first complete cardiac ablation service line.

In 2021, cardiology procedures received the highest estimated Medicare payment increases, making it the fastest growing ASC specialty, according to Avanza’s “2022 Key ASC Benchmarks and Industry Figures” report. Additionally, a 2020 Bain & Co. report projected that by the mid-2020s, 33 percent of cardiology procedures will be performed in ASCs, a 23 percent increase from 2018.

“There’s a huge push I’m calling the gold rush,” Philip Blair, CEO of Surgery Center Services of America, told Becker’s last year. “A lot of cardiology groups are just rushing to get their projects done in Pennsylvania. We’re doing our first cardiology project up in Pennsylvania, and it’s going to just completely go crazy. So our big focus is really tackling the catheterization model.”

Outpatient cardiology procedures, however, can be a costly business. In an industry that is already facing rising operating costs and economic pressures, this can be a major barrier to the development of cardiology ASCs.

“Cardiology requires a lot of different equipment,” Prashanth Bala, chief of ambulatory surgical services at Shields Health in Quincy, Mass., told Becker’s. “It requires costly implants. Especially if those implants aren’t reimbursed or if the capitated rate for that procedure isn’t reimbursing the implant, you may not be able to do those procedures in the outpatient setting.”

 

View original source at beckersasc.com