Headed into 2024, several major ASCs and practices have set their sights on growth and expansion for the year, especially when it comes to musculoskeletal care lines. Several ASCs that do not currently have orthopedic care lines are seeking to add them as more orthopedic and spine procedures migrate to the outpatient setting.
Becker's spoke with 11 orthopedic surgeons, musculoskeletal practice and ASC leaders who plan to grow or develop orthopedic and spine care lines in 2024.
Andrew Lovewell. CEO at Columbia (Mo.) Orthopaedic Group: We are continuing our growth strategy of bringing on high quality surgeons and non-operative providers in our market. In addition, we are working on improving patient access and convenience by adding more adjacent services to our organization to improve the patient experience in our facilities. We have added lab services to our already existing offerings, and patients have really appreciated the opportunity to have a comprehensive offering.
Dan Chen, MD. Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Scranton, Pa.): 2024 will be a year of growth for hospitals and physicians alike as we return to normalcy after the COVID pandemic, and as the aging U.S. population begins seeking increased elective procedures to treat their ailments. My top priority continues to be the best minimally invasive spine surgeon and physician that I can be for my patients, and to provide them with individualized care to maximize their return to function. Product innovation, coupled with integrating the evolving body of knowledge, will be critical to providing the best spinal treatments. Along these lines, I think the spinal implants industry will continue to advance and innovate in 2024, and I'm looking forward to what new technology is available to my patients.
Erin Vitale, RN. Director of Nursing at Hoffman Estates (Ill.) Surgery Center: I have so many as the new director of nursing for this center, but if I had to narrow it down to just one, I would say that my focus will be to continue to grow our center not only in case volume, but also in what we offer as a multispecialty center. As we have plans to kick off our total joint program in the beginning of 2024 with total knee arthroplasties, I would like to see that service line grow into shoulders and hips as the year goes on. We also have a general service line that has a great opportunity to expand its services. As we grow we will continue to offer the same quality, safe care we have always provided with the amazing team we have built here.
Fawn Esser-Lipp. Executive Director at the Surgery Center (Franklin, Wis.): My top priority is getting total shoulders started now that CMS has approved coverage. I will need to work on getting instrumentation, procuring equipment and staff training. Of course, monitoring expenses is always at the top of my list.
Grant Booher, MD. Neurosurgeon at Longhorn Brain and Spine (Fort Worth, Texas): My goal for 2024 is practice growth. I have partnered with a management group and several local surgeons to build out an ASC. I'm utilizing robotics and plan to focus on endoscopic approaches with regional blocks for more outpatient surgeries. I'm currently a solo practitioner and I would love to bring on a like-minded physician partner this next year as well.
Joe O'Brien, MD. Medical Director of Minimally Invasive Orthopedic Spine Surgery at VHC Health (Bethesda, Md.): Our top priority for 2024 is to grow our ASC with another room.
Jon Schmidt. Vice President of Operations at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute (Orlando): The top priority for Rothman Florida in 2024 is to continue to expand and meet the growing need for subspecialty orthopedic care in Central Florida. Through our partnership with AdventHealth, we are able to collaboratively work to assess the needs in each sub-market and recruit accordingly. It is a dynamic time in our market with a rapidly growing population, and we are looking to position ourselves to meet that need.
Justin Bundy, MD. Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at Augusta-Aiken (S.C.) Orthopedic Specialists: My top priority for 2024 is to advance outpatient spine with new technology and patient-appropriate care.
Kenneth Nwosu, MD. Spine Surgeon at Neospine (Puyallup, Wash.): My top priority for 2024 is to transition "higher acuity" spine procedures like transforaminal lumbar interbody fusions back to the ASC. These procedures were routinely performed safely in the ASC for Medicare beneficiaries due to provisions from the Hospital Without Walls program announced by CMS in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the pandemic abated, so did the HWW program and its associated provisions, making it cost restrictive to perform these procedures in the ASC setting.
Kristin Ward, RN. Vice President of Surgical Services and ASC Administrator at OSS Health (York, Pa.): Our organization is developing and implementing an EHR organizationwide as well as opening up the second ASC for our organization. We just started outpatient total joints with success and will continue to work to improve efficiency and best practice. Our anesthesia group is part of our organization now over the last year, working to continue to build programs and build on collaboration.
Peter Passias, MD. Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at NYU Langone Health (New York City): Top priorities are expanding AI applications in spine surgery not just in the OR but in terms of patient selection, risk stratification and predicting outcomes. Also diminishing invasiveness options are expanding with advanced technologies, and traditional surgery is becoming minimized.