Texas physician attributes one of most promising ASC trends to pandemic

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Necessity is the mother of invention, as the adage goes. Bill Berryhill, MD, managing partner of Waco-based Heart of Texas Cath Lab and Surgery Center, said on "Becker's Ambulatory Surgery Centers Podcast" that some of the biggest boons to ASCs and catheterization labs have come out of necessity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is an edited excerpt. Download the full podcast episode here.

Question: What are some trends you're following in healthcare right now that could affect the surgery center business or your practice going forward?

Dr. Bill Berryhill: Well, the first trend is the one [that's allowed us to] increase our size incredibly: They have now allowed a patient to not just have a diagnostic catheterization in the ASC, but to also have a stent placement, which is a huge change. And this goes along with sort of the No. 1 trend that you see with all surgery centers, which is the increased number of procedures that can now be performed in the outpatient setting. And by Jan. 1, 2024, the list of procedures to be done only in a hospital — that list will essentially disappear. ... So this movement of increasing the number of procedures that can be performed in the outpatient setting has been an absolute boon to our facility.

It was actually driven in part by the COVID pandemic because the cardiac cath labs in the hospital were literally shutting down because they weren't admitting anyone to the hospital who wasn't COVID-related. They didn't want to use their personal protective equipment on cardiac catheterizations and things like that. So the hospitals were actually sort of driving patients to us, and CMS was changing their regulations rapidly to accommodate the movement of these patients to the outpatient setting.

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