ASC's are outpatient centers that provide same-day surgery procedures that do not require an overnight hospital stay. ASC's can be a cost-effective option for low risk, outpatient surgical care. Ambulatory surgical centers are not walk-in clinics like urgent cares; they provide procedures to patients who have already visited another healthcare provider and who have determined that surgery is the appropriate next step in their treatment. According to CMS in 2011, 82% of procedures performed in ASC's were in the specialties of pain management, urology, orthopedics, plastic (cosmetic), gastrointestinal (GI), and Opthamology, with the remaining 18% falling into other catagories. Most ASC's in the United States participate with Medicare, and Medicare patients make up about 30% of ASC's patient population.
A significant advantage of ambulatory surgery centers is the potential cost savings they offer as compared to hospital outpatient departments. According to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), which represents ASC's in the United States, Medicare and its beneficiaries pay an average of 72% more in a hospital outpatient department than they would pay for the same procedure if performed in an ASC. ASCA also reports that Medicare saves $2.5 billion annually when surgical procedures are performed at ASC's as opposed to hospital outpatient departments. Most private insurers base their reimbursement rates in large part on Medicare fees, so these cost savings generally translate to patients with private insurance as well. However, ambulatory surgery centers are not equipped to handle all types of surgery, especially high-risk procedures, so it is a good idea to seek a physician's advice regarding the risks involved and the appropriate setting in which to have your procedure performed.
ASC's typically represent themselves as service-oriented options for patients, and ASCA reports that 70% of surgeries in ASC's start within 7 minutes of the scheduled start times. Since most ASC's accept Medicare patients, they must comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) certification criteria. There are also multiple accrediting bodies for ASC's, which include the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), and the Joint Commission.
Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC's) provide outpatient surgery, which is defined as same-day surgery that does not require an overnight hospital stay. ASC's appear to be an affordable option for surgical procedures as compared to the cost of the same procedures performed in a hospital outpatient department. However, ambulatory surgery centers are not equipped to handle all types of surgery, so it is a good idea to seek a physician's advice regarding the risks involved and the appropriate setting in which to have your procedure performed.
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