Whether it is simply pent-up demand or a shift in thinking, physicians and medical groups are showing greater interest in licensing and building private Ambulatory Surgery Centers as part of their practices. Ambulatory Surgery Centers, or ASCs, have been popular for some time as they offer a lower cost alternative to performing procedures and operations in hospital settings. Insurance companies often favor this approach. ASCs offer increased convenience for patients and the centers help generate revenue for physicians that may receive smaller reimbursements for routine services. The ASC licensing, certification and construction pose many challenges. The elements an ASC may need to contain tend to drive up construction costs in an already price inflated market.
Partner with a Surgical Consultant Specializing in ASCs
Before a single screw should be turned, or for that matter, a single line drawn, we recommend doctors contact a specialty surgical consultant like Tina DiMarino of Custom Surgical Consultants www.customsurgicalconsultants.com. Consultants are experienced at listening to the needs and desires of the physician and assessing the viability of the project quickly. These surgical consultants can handle tasks such as determining the proper level ASC, navigating the rules and regulations, obtaining accreditation, and in some instances, proving medical necessity (Certificate of Need). It’s hard to deal with such daunting tasks without a pro at your side. Engaging a surgical consultant is a vital first step towards a successful project.
Create a Comprehensive Design and Construction Team from the Beginning
KasCon uses a “Design-Build” approach, meaning that the design team (architect and engineer) are joined with the contractor at inception to insure a consistent value driven product with single point accountability. We lead the RFP process for design team selection and contract these services directly or simply facilitate and have the medical group hold the design contract. Whatever the preference, the key is to have architect, engineers and contractor work together up front. This group, in conjunction with the surgical consultant, will work to determine the best fit and most accurate preliminary construction cost so informed decisions can be made.
Prepare for ASC-Specific Complexities
The complexity of ASC construction doesn’t end at the licensing and certification issues. These facilities offer a number of building challenges that all must be considered. ASCs require additional space, not only for the operatory or procedure rooms, but for required ancillary functions like pre-op, post-op, and clean and dirty segregated areas. Access is important: can the facility be accessed at grade or will an elevator be needed? If an elevator, is it large enough? What about power? Will a battery back-up system suffice, or will a generator be required? An ASC has HVAC and plumbing demands that exceed those of a medical office. Also, the ability to sanitize floor and wall surfaces require products that may differ from a typical medical office. Other aspects such as fire separation, use of medical gases and the need for automatic doors – just to name a few – must be considered and accounted for in both design and pricing. There will be fewer surprises when you are working with an informed contractor and design team, experienced in ASC projects.
The private ASC offers some great advantages for both physician and patient. The key to making the build process pleasant and cost effective is to gather the right team and allow them to guide you through the challenges, as well as provide information and options for consideration, so the physician can focus on the medical practice.