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How Rethinking Ambulatory Procedures Financially Can Benefit Both Surgeons and Facility Owners

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

As a surgeon or owner of an ambulatory procedure center, you're likely always on the lookout for ways to increase profitability. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can implement to achieve this goal. In this article, I'll discuss the benefits of ambulatory procedure centers, the financial challenges they face, and how to maximize profitability through strategic financial planning, cheat sheets, revenue-increasing strategies, center renovation, and the role of American Ambulatory Surgical Centers.

Introduction to Ambulatory Procedure Centers

Ambulatory Procedure Centers (APCs) are healthcare facilities that provide same-day surgical care, diagnostic, and preventive procedures in an outpatient setting. Unlike inpatient hospitals, where patients stay for extended periods, APCs allow patients to return home on the same day of their procedure. This saves patients time and money, as they don't have to pay for overnight stays, and it frees up hospital beds for more critical cases.

APCs provide a broader range of services than traditional outpatient clinics, including colonoscopies, cataract surgeries, and even some orthopedic procedures. They're staffed by highly trained medical professionals, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses, who work together to provide efficient, high-quality care.

Understanding the Difference between Ambulatory Surgery Centers and Outpatient Hospitals

It's essential to distinguish between Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) and outpatient hospitals. ASCs are often owned by physicians and provide more specialized services than outpatient hospitals. They're typically smaller, have lower overhead costs, and are more efficient, allowing them to offer lower prices to patients. Outpatient hospitals, on the other hand, are owned by larger hospital systems and offer a broader range of services, including inpatient care.

Benefits of Ambulatory Procedure Centers for Surgeons and Owners

APCs offer several benefits to both surgeons and owners. For surgeons, they provide a more efficient and cost-effective environment to perform procedures. They can perform more procedures in a day, which translates to higher revenue. For owners, APCs offer a profitable business model with lower overhead costs and higher profit margins than traditional hospitals. They also provide an opportunity to offer specialized services to patients, which can help attract new business and build a loyal patient base.

Financial Challenges Faced by Ambulatory Procedure Centers

Despite their many benefits, APCs face several financial challenges. One of the most significant challenges is obtaining prior authorizations from insurance companies. This process can be time-consuming, frustrating, and costly, as it requires staff members to spend hours on the phone with insurance companies, providing medical records, and negotiating with claims adjusters.

Another challenge is coding. Orthopedic coding, in particular, can be complex and time-consuming, requiring specialized knowledge and training. Errors in coding can lead to denied claims, delayed payments, and lost revenue.

Finally, APCs face the challenge of managing their revenue cycle. They must ensure that they're collecting payments from patients and insurance companies promptly, while also managing their expenses and cash flow.

Maximizing Profitability through Strategic Financial Planning

One way to maximize profitability is through strategic financial planning. This involves analyzing your center's financials and developing a plan to increase revenue, reduce costs, and improve cash flow.

One strategy is to implement cheat sheets for prior authorization, orthopedic coding, and review of systems. These cheat sheets can save staff members time and ensure that claims are processed accurately and efficiently.

Another strategy is to implement revenue-increasing strategies, such as offering new services, expanding your patient base, and negotiating better contracts with insurance companies.

Finally, renovating and upgrading your APC can also help attract new patients, improve patient satisfaction, and increase revenue.

Utilizing Cheat Sheets for Prior Authorization, Orthopedic Coding, and Review of Systems

Cheat sheets can be a valuable tool for APCs. Prior authorization cheat sheets can help staff members navigate the complex process of obtaining prior authorizations. Orthopedic coding cheat sheets for 2022 can help staff members ensure that claims are coded accurately and efficiently. Review of systems cheat sheets can help staff members document patient histories and ensure that they're providing high-quality care.

Strategies for Increasing Revenue and Reducing Costs

To increase revenue, APCs can implement several strategies. One strategy is to offer new services, such as telemedicine or home health services. Another strategy is to expand your patient base by targeting new demographics or geographic areas. Finally, negotiating better contracts with insurance companies can help increase revenue and reduce costs.

To reduce costs, APCs can implement several strategies, such as improving supply chain management, reducing staff turnover, and implementing energy-efficient measures to reduce utility costs.

Renovating and Upgrading Your Ambulatory Procedure Center

Renovating and upgrading your APC can help attract new patients, improve patient satisfaction, and increase revenue. Upgrading your equipment and technology can improve patient outcomes and reduce procedure times. Renovating your center can also help create a more welcoming and comfortable environment for patients.

The Role of American Ambulatory Surgical Centers in Maximizing Profitability

The American Ambulatory Surgical Centers (AASC) is an organization that represents more than 5,400 ASCs across the United States. AASC provides resources and support to help ASCs maximize profitability, including benchmarking data, educational resources, and networking opportunities.


APCs offer several benefits to both surgeons and owners. However, they also face several financial challenges, including obtaining prior authorizations, coding, and managing their revenue cycle. By implementing strategic financial planning, cheat sheets, revenue-increasing strategies, and renovating and upgrading your center, you can maximize profitability and achieve long-term success. The American Ambulatory Surgical Centers can also provide valuable resources and support to help you achieve your goals.

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Jun 12, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great article, it shows how you can have more and not have the headache of owning... advisable.

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