Ophthalmology Business

SEP 2015

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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September 2015 • Ophthalmology Business 25 by Kevin Francis Is it better to outsource or purchase surgical equipment? I ncreasing costs of ophthal- mic surgical equipment and supplies, combined with uncertainty about Medicare reimbursement rates under the Affordable Care Act, are driving hospitals and surgery centers to look for ways to cut expenses. The 2014 ASCRS Clinical Survey revealed that 83.7% of eye surgeons are extremely or very concerned about the future of Medicare reimbursement for cataract surgery. A cost-cutting measure that makes sense for many facilities is outsourcing the surgical equipment, having it delivered, and paying only for the days and times you are using it for patient procedures. But not all facilities or settings will benefit from this approach. Before you rush into a decision, a number of factors should be considered. First, here are some of the top reasons ophthalmologists, hospitals, and ASCs turn to outsourcing: • Profits are earned from the very first case because no equipment needs to be purchased • Access to all the latest equipment and numerous brands (some doc- tors prefer a certain brand but their partners might prefer another) • Turn-key services including a certified technician to assist with each case • Better efficiency and reduced downtime between cases • No worries about expired dispos- able products or inventory man- agement • No equipment maintenance fees or service agreements In general, we have found that outsourcing is the most beneficial in the following scenarios: • A group of doctors is starting a new surgical center and wants to avoid the risk of investing in equipment that could become obsolete before it is paid off. • The facility doesn't have the budget to upgrade to newer technology. • You prefer a certain brand of ma- chine but other doctors at a facility prefer another. Multiple doctors have preferences for different phaco platforms. • A facility doesn't have adequate space to permanently store the equipment and supplies. Many states have laws that prohibit keeping equipment and supplies in hallways or other unsecured areas when not in use. continued on page 26

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