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How Missouri's #1 ASC is moving the needle for patients with value-based care

The Surgical Center at Columbia Orthopaedic Group (SCCOG) has been on the forefront of innovation since its inception in 2008. Today, this seven-time APEX award winning facility ranks top in patient satisfaction and two-time Newsweek award winning for experts' choice in top Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) in Missouri.

Newsweek's Top Surgical Center in Missouri

For the second consecutive year, SCCOG has secured the #1 spot on the list, chosen by experts and peers in the ASC field.

From a staggering 470 centers in 25 states, the following criteria were used to determine the top ranking ASCs by state:

  1. Management in times of the COVID-19 crisis (e.g., the safety of residents, hygiene measures)
  2. Management of waiting time (e.g., appointments)
  3. Quality of surgery preparations (e.g., consultation with a doctor, information)
  4. Quality of surgical care (e.g., procedure)
  5. Quality of follow-up care (e.g., physical therapies)

Medical Director and President of SCCOG, Bus Tarbox, MD, adds to the discussion, "Earning this award is a group effort. This demonstrates how dedicated our staff and physicians are to participate in the care of our patients. It shows our progressive nature as an organization and how we strive to put the patient first. Having a team of physicians who are fully invested in the mission and vision of the organization is key to our success."  

Value-based care (VBC)

In response to the 2022 Top ASC Newsweek list, Becker's Healthcare ASC podcast featured Andrew Lovewell, Administrator of SCCOG. Lovewell discusses ASC trends, best practices about value-based care, and advice on building a successful team modeled after his approach that made SCCOG the top ASC in Missouri.

"For me, value equals quality. Quality encompasses outcomes, patient experience, service, and access. Value is the numerator over cost, the denominator. When ASCs keep this equation in mind, they are poised to win on their value proposition."

VBC is more than a trend to watch in 2022. It is an opportunity to provide more significant value to patients and payers alike. One way to deliver better value is transparency, bundles, and the ability to tell people up front what something is going to cost. This innovative approach delivers the care patients need at a price they can afford.

COG Surgery Center blog

COG Surgery Center blog

While some ASCs are already ready for VBC, it's not like flipping a light switch. For example, if you're offering bundles, there will be downstream contracts. If you're going to pursue VBC, you need to know what platform makes the most sense for you and your patients.

It's a march to the finish line, not a sprint. If ASCs are not making plans already, find little steps to progress toward a value-based approach. 

In the next few years, I expect payers to shift their approach to focus on VBC because of the heightened opportunity for greater quality, access, and outcomes. The fee-for-service model has been the status quo for a long time. The same conversation around change crops up every couple of years. However, the patient doesn't seem to be included in the conversation. Yet, the patient is the most essential part of the equation, and it is the patient who experiences high deductibles and high premiums.

We all need to work together to move the needle for the patient.

Building a successful ASC team, best practices from SCCOG
  • Talk to staff to get open, honest feedback
    Employees are the ones doing the work. Be proactive about collecting open, honest feedback, and execute on what's important to them. What the staff thinks is critical to improve the quality of care and patient experience.

  • Take action
    When you get feedback, don't sit on it. Engage the board of surgeons or other leaders to make changes based on staff feedback promptly.

  • Motivate your team
    Simple things go a long way. Understand what motivates each person and why that's important for them. Set each unique employee up for success. For example, we have a huge employee engagement committee, ensuring each voice is heard and understood.

  • Recognition
    Go that extra mile to let staff know they are valued. We deliver high-quality patient care because of our team, so when we earn accolades like topping the Newsweek 2022 Best ASC list, we let staff know it's because of them and all their hard work.

Andrew Lovewell, MHA, MSHI, LSSGB, is an innovative, results-driven health care leader with extensive experience in operations, finance, and leadership. Lovewell has been innovating and improving patient experience and surgical outcomes as the Administrator of The Surgical Center at Columbia Orthopaedic Group since 2018.