While ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are always looking for ways to save money, they sometimes fail to aggressively pursue cost savings tied to Human Resources. MedHQ CEO Tom Jacobs made this assertion in a recent article in ASCA Focus Magazine, adding that introducing improvements to such things as staffing, scheduling and employee benefits can greatly reduce an ASC’s HR expenses.
“HR is an everyday, ongoing process,” Jacobs said in the article. “You certainly want to try to save money when you buy new capital equipment, for example, but that is a one-off purchase. When you can bring about improvements to HR, you will likely realize more savings over time.”
Jacobs explained that all decisions that impact employees should be rooted in an understanding of employment law compliance, and suggested that some of the most appropriate, effective ways to save money are often less obvious. He said when making choices about different HR services, ASCs would be wise to do their due diligence or even consider bringing in outside expertise for assistance.
“If you are considering offering a 401(k)-retirement plan, research your options,” he counseled. “An HR practitioner schooled in benefits and retirement plans should be able to get a good product that delivers solid, long-term returns.”
In addition, Jacobs said some of the most substantial HR cost savings efforts are not as easily measured. “We preach a lot about saving money on unemployment claims costs,” he said. “When you can keep turnover low and staff satisfaction high, people will work really well together. That leads to lower labor hours per case, and lowers cost per case.”
To help gain the financial benefits of strong HR decision-making, Jacobs underscores the importance of seasoned HR experience in ASC leadership. “An ASCs costs can greatly increase or decrease depending upon how an ASC performs in the many areas of HR,” he concludes. “Being an HR practitioner is a long-term commitment to a field of study. It takes a significant amount of in-depth knowledge to do this work really well.”