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Advantages of ASC vs Hospital Based Procedures

November 9, 2017

Ambulatory Surgery Centers, also known as ASCs, are freestanding healthcare facilities focused on providing outpatient surgical care. Outpatient surgery offers significant benefits over inpatient surgery. The shorter stay makes it more appealing as well as the normally lower price point.

Complex procedures such as hysterectomies, total joint replacements, and spine surgeries are becoming more common in ASCs. When recommended to have a procedure in an ASC, patients might wonder if this is the best option for them.

Orthopedic Reviews estimated in 2016 an average cost savings from 17.6 percent to 57.6 percent associated with orthopedic outpatient procedures compared to similar procedures performed in the hospital. ASCA concluded that knee arthroscopy patients could save $1,275 in out-of-pocket costs by choosing to have their procedure in an ASC as opposed to a hospital outpatient facility. Only 48 percent of all surgical procedures approved to be performed in an ASC are actually performed in one. If the other 52 percent were performed at ASCs, $41 billion could be saved annually.

Another benefit to receiving surgery outside the hospital setting is that it is potentially safer and cleaner. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2010 approximately 8.95 in 1,000 patients developed a surgical site infection (SSI) in the hospital setting. However, only 4.84 in 1,000 patients who had surgery at an ASC developed an SSI requiring inpatient treatment within 30 days of surgery.

In ASCs, physicians are able to schedule procedures more conveniently, assemble teams of highly qualified staff, ensure the best equipment for their techniques are being used and design facilities to their specialties and to fit the needs of their patients. This means that physicians have more control over their work atmosphere and the quality of care than that is provided to them at hospitals. The first ASC was created because physicians were seeking a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to inpatient hospital care.

If you are in good health, having your procedure at an ASC may work for you. Talk with your doctor about what is the best option for you and check with your health insurer to determine if it will cost you more out-of-pocket to have your procedure at an ASC versus a hospital.

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