By now, those of us in the ASC industry have all encountered situations where some payors do not reimburse separately for implants. This payor approach to reimbursement for high ticket items can be difficult to navigate. Recently, I realized scheduling these patients at our facilities lends itself to a golfing analogy.
How so? First, these cases come with a handicap. Second, handicaps allow golfers of varying abilities to indulge in fair play. Third, polishing your drivers improves your game. The key takeaway – you must keep score to improve your game.
In golf, a handicap essentially signifies the number of strokes above or below what a first-rate player would normally need to achieve the desired goal (standard) on a particular hole or golf course. A skilled golfer will count their strokes to gauge their success against the standard.
When your facility is faced with a managed care provider that does not reimburse for implants separately, it also needs to assess its handicap. Identifying the standard reimbursement for the procedure is essential to determine your handicap. Consider all variables – costs and reimbursement by case type, for example – to warrant the best chance of obtaining your desired compensation goal.
Handicaps are based on recent play and are subject to change over time. Similarly, it makes sense for your ASC to routinely weigh the current costs of implant(s) against expected reimbursement. When sufficient surplus is not present to cover projected costs, notify the physician immediately.
Like calculating handicap, there are easy ways to go about calculating costs and projected reimbursement. The adage “you can’t manage what you don’t monitor” applies here. Measuring each case’s costs against anticipated reimbursement is part of improving your handicap.
Handicaps allow golfers of varying abilities to compete against one another on somewhat equal terms. In essence, it levels the playing field.
Prioritize scrutinizing costs and reimbursement on cases with significant implant costs. These costs may not be covered in overall bundle reimbursement methodology which can negatively impact your ASCs revenue. Educating your physicians about proper case selection when they choose to schedule at your facility is fair play.
You Must Polish Your Drivers
Avid golfers will tell you polishing your drivers should be a regular part of your maintenance routine. Preparing your drivers protects your investment and increases the possibility of improving your game.
Along the same lines, if you prepare your surgery center’s drivers, your physician owners will understand the potential financial benefits and issues that occur with their implant-intensive cases. Doing so creates a higher likelihood of protecting their investment.
You Must Keep Score to Improve Your Game
Ultimately, you want to improve your game. To do that, you need to keep score. In this sense, think of scoring as receiving the reimbursement necessary to cover the costs of, and provide for, a reasonable margin for a specific surgery. Track surgeries that do not meet this standard. This data can assist you demonstrate to payors how certain cases do not meet your expected margin. You can improve your score through evidence-based negotiations.
In summary, scheduling patients associated with plans that do not reimburse for implants separately can be tricky. Ensure you are tracking case costs and reimbursement, routinely educating physician users, and adjusting for challenges. This is not only necessary to improve your game, it is essential for fair play.
Dan Connolly – Vice President of Payor Relations and Contracting