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Universal Health Services and Regent Surgical Health Form ASC Joint Venture

Universal Health Services and Regent Surgical Health have signed a definitive agreement to form a new joint venture that will establish a nationwide network of outpatient surgery centers, the organizations said on Tuesday.

Leaders said CHWs would provide more convenient access points, opportunities to expand risk-sharing payment models, and more efficient settings for physician offices. The hope is that Regent’s expertise will improve the quality of care and the bottom line, they said.

“Our ambulatory business continues to grow like everyone else,” Kyle Moore, vice president of ambulatory care services at UHS, told Modern Healthcare. “We can’t be everywhere for everyone, so partnerships are the best way to add value to this growth.”

UHS, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, has traditionally focused on the acute and behavioral health space, with a network of 327 behavioral health hospitals, 27 acute care hospitals, and 40 ambulatory care facilities. The investor-owned integrated healthcare system reported third-quarter ambulatory care revenue of $ 4.48 billion, up 21% from the same period last year. It reported $ 257.7 million in outpatient behavioral health revenue, an increase of 6.1%.

By comparison, UHS reported $ 7 billion in third-quarter inpatient revenue, which was up nearly 17% from the same previous period. Its behavioral health hospitals generated $ 2.54 billion in inpatient revenue, up more than 3%.

Many healthcare systems have chosen to reduce their acute care footprint to make way for more outpatient care facilities, or have turned to acquisitions or affiliations to strengthen their outpatient and physician networks. This surge has accelerated as more care leaves the hospital setting, alternative payment models reward cheaper and more efficient care, and insurers apply stringent prior authorization requirements to healthcare services. emergency.

Meanwhile, the gap between inpatient and outpatient incomes at U.S. hospitals continues to narrow, according to data from the American Hospital Association.

“We are seeing healthcare systems looking to decompress their main campus and move more services to an outpatient setting,” Christopher Bodnar, vice president of CBRE Healthcare Capital Markets, told Modern Healthcare in December, following the report. from the commercial real estate company which revealed that the number of outpatient establishments increased by 51% from 2005 to 2016.

While the transition appears to meet consumer expectations for more convenient and affordable care, not much is known about the quality of CHWs as there are few quality measures available. A recent report from the Leapfrog group found that 1 in 3 centers did not have doctors or nurses who were all board certified.

Yet insurers, health systems and privately funded businesses are turning to physician offices, CHWs and other lower-cost providers to better direct care and secure income streams.

“Most communities today are overloaded with beds,” said Stephen Wright, former senior vice president of group operations at Christus Health, at Modern Healthcare last year. “It’s a more efficient use of resources to create a smaller footprint through outpatient facilities and then shift them to other local facilities when needed. “

Regent, based in Westchester, Ill., Owns or operates 26 ASCs, 21 hospital joint ventures, 14 total joint replacement centers, and three pooled payment entities.