Growth of Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Transporting patients to and from local surgery centers is a growing source of business activity for a Non-Emergency Medical Transportation company such as ours. This report is designed to help define the role of the Ambulatory Surgery Center in the healthcare industry.

What are Ambulatory Surgery Centers and why are they Significant?

According to a report prepared for the ASC Coalition, ambulatory surgery centers, (ASCs), are health care facilities that offer patients the convenience of having surgeries and procedures performed safely outside of the hospital setting. Since their inception more than four decades ago, ASCs have demonstrated an exceptional ability to improve quality and service while simultaneously reducing costs. At a time when most developments in health care services and technology typically come with a higher price tag, ASCs stand out as an exception to the rule.

What Procedures are Performed at an ASC?

Among the most common procedures, were colonoscopy (27%), upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (10%), lens and cataract surgery (10%), and pain management procedures (5%). About half of the total population of patients were 60 and older, with 22% between 60 and 69, 18% between 70 and 79, and 10% were 80 or older.

ASCs Provide Care at Significant Cost Savings

Not only are ASCs focused on ensuring that patients have the best surgical experience possible, they also provide cost-effective care that save the government , third party payors and patients money. According to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association,

If just half of the eligible surgical procedures moved from hospital outpatient departments to ASCs, Medicare would save an additional $2.4 billion a year or $24 billion over the next 10 years. Likewise, Medicaid and other insurers benefit from lower prices for services performed in the ASC setting. For example, a Medicare beneficiary could pay as much as $496 in coinsurance for a cataract extraction procedure performed in a hospital department, whereas that same beneficiary’s co-payment in the ASC would be only $195.

Non-hospital Ownership

The majority of ambulatory surgery centers are owned by physicians, or by physician partnerships. As of 2011physician ownership was approaching 80% of all ASCs. The physician owned healthcare model allows the following efficiencies:

  • More intense and better focused quality control processes since ASCs offer a single setting, and smaller space and smaller number of operating rooms.
  • Allows patients to bring concerns directly to the physicians involved, rather than hospital administrators.
  • Physicians can personally guide innovation strategies and quality control initiatives.

Benefits of Medical Technology Advancements

Technological advancement has allowed a growing range of procedures to be performed safely on an outpatient basis. Faster acting and more effective anesthetics and less invasive techniques, such as arthroscopy, have driven ASC growth. Procedures that only a few years ago required major incisions, long-acting anesthetics, and extended convalescence can now be performed through closed techniques utilizing short-acting anesthetics, and with minimal recovery time.

92% Satisfaction Rate

As a result, patients say they have a 92% satisfaction rate with both the care and service they receive from Ambulatory Surgical Centers.

Are Ambulatory Surgery Centers Safe?

In the wake of the surgery-related death of comedian Joan Rivers, patient-safety leaders and some physicians are calling on outpatient surgery centers to carefully select elderly patients eligible for surgery and encouraging patients to question the qualifications of physicians performing the procedures.

Surgery carries risk for everyone, but older adults are more likely to have multiple health conditions that can affect how their body responds to even minor surgical procedures. “If something goes slightly wrong, it’s much more likely to turn into a big problem in an older person than a younger person,” said Dr. Jonathan Flacker, chief of geriatrics and gerontology at Emory University and a spokesman for the American Geriatrics Society.


The growth of Ambulatory Surgery Centers has been remarkable the past several years, and from the standpoint of our company, the results are overwhelmingly positive. All Points Assisted Transportation would like to thank the ASCs in our area for their contributions to the community.

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