What ASC administrators need to know about ownership transitions

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The ASC industry has experienced increased consolidation and an influx in corporate ownership in the past decade. 

Cheri Smith is a former ASC administrator of St. John's Surgery Center in Fort Myers, Fla., with more than 10 years of administrative experience. She recently spoke with Becker's ASC Review on managing ownership transitions and what ASC administrators should be wary of.

Editor's note: Responses were edited lightly for length and clarity.

Question: What is one of the biggest challenges ASCs are facing?

Cheri Smith: One of the biggest challenges many ASCs are likely facing is the ongoing transition of private ownership to corporate or shared-management models and the unsuited, and sometimes unyielding, impositions that may come along with the newly formed relationship.  

If an ASC is not acquired by a company or an organization which is well-versed in the ambulatory realm, the center may face new processes, policies or changes that do not necessarily coincide with federal and/or accreditation guidelines or standards. 

This is especially true if a practice setting attempts to pull the center under its larger organizational umbrella, or even if a hospital group assumes ownership. In a practice setting, there is usually more leniency with what is permitted and performed, while a hospital often has much stricter guidelines and regulations — neither relating best to the typical ASC.

Oftentimes, administrators are the only voice of reason, if they are heard at all. It is in the best interest for the overall organization and its projected success to at the very least pay some mind to their wealth of knowledge and experience.  

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