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Ambulatory Surgery Centers 'Pivotal' in Moving Outpatient Surgical Services Into Less Expensive, Clinically Appropriate Settings
Date:6/16/2009

hospitals and into less expensive yet clinically appropriate settings. The study findings highlight the role ASCs have played in meeting the growing population needs for essential surgical and cancer screening services. The use of ASCs has likely slowed growth in total Medicare spending for outpatient surgical services because they offer a low-cost alternative to hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs), a goal the ASC industry suggests is consistent with the Administration's health reform priorities.

The health reform objectives articulated by the Congress and the Administration -- promoting efficient use of services in the health care system and improving the value of Medicare's spending -- are inextricably linked to promoting the use of ASCs for beneficiaries' outpatient surgical needs. The results of this research demonstrate that ASCs have already been a beneficial partner to the Medicare program and its beneficiaries in constraining Medicare spending growth by providing a lower-priced option for outpatient surgical needs. The reforms discussed in Congress should provide further incentives to move additional clinically appropriate surgeries into ASCs at a savings to the beneficiary, Medicare program and U.S. taxpayers.

The ASC Coalition contracted with KNG Health Consulting to identify the factors that have contributed to the growth of ASCs. In addition, the researchers were asked to measure the growth factors and estimate the relative contribution of each factor. In general, the researchers found that most of the growth of the industry between 2000 and 2007 was fueled by the movement of many gastrointestinal (GI) and ophthalmology services into ASCs from hospital outpatient departments.

Beyond demonstrating the role ASCs have played in moving surgical services into less expensive settings, this study disproves two factors critics of the ASC industry have suggested may offset the cost reducing effects
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SOURCE ASC Association
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