As the COVID-19 pandemic curve starts to flatten in some states, you are probably itching to ramp back up to full speed in your ASC. As we ease into a post-pandemic new normal, consider these tips for ramping up to full capacity post-COVID-19.
Streamline your COVID-19 screenings
Extra sanitization measures, taking every patient’s temperature, and limited waiting room capacities are just a few of the ways COVID-19 has impacted your operations. Brainstorm how you can better streamline these processes. One strategy is to ask patients to complete pre-admission paperwork at home, where they are required to answer specific COVID-related screening questions.
Some communication software options will even allow you to communicate with your patient’s loved one. With this technology, you can send an automated text when the patient is ready to be picked up after surgery, which can help prevent waiting rooms from overcrowding.
As experts learn more daily about COVID-19, your protocols are likely changing rapidly. Save time at admission by communicating with all patients as soon as you update your guidelines. Consider using a communication platform where you can send messages to all patients more efficiently.
Consider updating hours of operation
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS expanded what procedures they would reimburse for in an ambulatory setting. What this means is that post-pandemic, ASCs are situated for a massive surge in volume.
Consider new ways that your ASC can account for this surge. To keep your ORs full, consider if you need to add special evening or weekend hours. In one instance, an ASC administrator began scheduling “surge Saturdays” to handle this increased demand.
Incentivize with payment plans
More and more, surgeries are moving to the more cost-effective ASC setting. Especially as COVID-19 has put many patients in a time of financial hardship, reducing the cost of care is more important than ever.
Consider the additional ways you can make patients feel cared for. Inform patients of costs up-front and consider giving them payment plan options. If you can’t fully finance their medical bill, even requiring only 50% up-front can make a significant difference for patients. If you are worried about receiving payment at all, consider incentivizing in-full payments with a small discount. If you can find ways to make surgery more financially feasible for patients, you’ll be back up to full OR capacity in no time.
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