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25 Creative Ways to Cut Costs
Small, smart choices can add up to big savings if you think outside the box.
Thomas Durick
Publish Date: May 25, 2016
OR Excellence
Thomas Durick, MD Thomas Durick, MD

Speaker Profile

  • Anesthesiologist and medical director of Bay Surgery Center in Oakland, Calif.
  • Graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and completed his anesthesia residency at the West Virginia University School of Medicine.
  • A passionate Oakland A's fan, he's inspired by the 2003 best-selling book Moneyball, which detailed how the A's used an analytical, evidence-based approach to assemble a competitive team.

Thomas Durick, MD, an anesthesiologist and the medical director of the Bay Surgery Center in Oakland, Calif., knows a thing or two about finding unusual ways to slash expenses. In his "25 Creative Cost-Saving Solutions" workshop, Dr. Durick will share the savvy ways he saves his facility tens of thousands of dollars each year.

  • Why creativity is needed. You have to challenge conventional wisdom to cut costs these days. As insurance payments shrink and collections become more challenging with higher deductibles, you need to save money while still providing quality care. Make cutting costs part of your work routine. Do something every day that saves your facility money. If you keep thinking and working like you did 20 years ago, you'll go the way of the dinosaur.
  • Align with your surgeons and vendors. Surgeons and vendors have traditionally been thought of as the enemy. That line of thinking simply can't exist anymore — you need to work with your surgeons and vendors to understand how you can all work together to control costs. Establish hard-and-fast guidelines for vendors who want to bring supplies and equipment into your facility and have a clear plan in place for assessing which items you'll purchase. Make it known that you will find a vendor your surgeons can work with, someone who will help you control costs. Convey to vendors and surgeons that you're all working toward a common goal: cutting costs without compromising care.
  • Case cost competition. Print a list of the most common procedures performed at your facility by more than one surgeon and list the range of costs associated with that case without posting the names of the physicians. Believe me, every surgeon will think they're the most cost-effective of the bunch. When you casually tell them they aren't, watch them suddenly question where they line up. The exercise becomes an impromptu educational session that gets that doctor to stop using more expensive items.
  • Make data-driven decisions. You're running with scissors in the dark if you don't know where your money is being spent — every penny of it — and how supplies, instruments and equipment are being used. Involve your staff. Ask questions. Walk into the OR while a case is being set up and look for wasted items in packs that aren't used. Gather data and present it to your surgeons with the understanding that you're looking to reduce costs and maintain profitability. If you're not doing these things, someone else will.
  • Areas of his expertise. I'm a practicing anesthesiologist and the medical director of my facility, so attendees will benefit from the lessons I've learned during my many years of running a center and working on the front line. I do what they do every day: order supplies and meds, review invoices, oversee spending and work to control costs. I understand their concerns and issues. If they want a fast-paced, fun, knowledge-filled session with practical tips they can take home and use right away, they need to get to my workshop. OSM