4 Common Misconceptions about Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC)


ASC misconceptions

Ambulatory Surgical Centers or ASCs as it is commonly called was first established in Phoenix, Arizona in 1970 by two physicians who wanted to provide comfortable care to the people in their community so that they could avoid more impersonal venues like hospitals. Slowly over the years with Medicare approving payments to ASCs they have gained in prominence and in some cases are scoring over the normal hospitals for certain procedures.

The fact that ASCs provide high quality yet cost effective alternative to the inpatient care provided at hospitals has seen a surge in outpatient centers. With hospitals grappling with scheduling delays, slow operating room turnover and budget cuts which has impacted purchase of new medical equipment, coupled with other operational issues have prompted patients to visit ASCs to receive care.

Industry Snippet

The revenue of the ASC is slated at $28 billion with an expected growth rate of over 5 percent between the years 2010– 015. ASCs are said to have a low level of market share concentration. A case in point being the four largest market players will generate less than 12 percent of the total revenue. However, over the next few years it is expected that the industry will consolidate with many large ASCs taking over the smaller ones and forging associations with other healthcare providers.

Demystifying 4 common misconceptions about ASCs

ASCs and hospitals are not different entities

People should realize that ASCs and hospitals are two different entities. It is not necessary that the kind of facilities that hospitals have ASCs might have them too. Of course patient care should not be compromised but it would be incorrect to expect the same treatment at an ASC as a hospital.

ASCs can help in getting surgery done cheaply

This is one of the sad misconceptions where people feel that if one needs to get a procedure done cheaply they can avoid a hospital and go to an ASC. However, one needs to remember that ASCs get the same Medicare certification and other accreditations that a hospital needs to get and the motive for ASC is to provide high quality care at a lower cost compared to a hospital but it is by no means cheap as they have standards to uphold.

ASCs suit everyone

It is true that ASCs were to be a substitute for hospital and they would provide care similar to hospitals. However, the fact is certain procedures and surgeries which can be carried out in hospitals have to be done in a hospital environment only.

ASCs can manage only easy cases

As discussed above for certain procedures and surgeries one has to go to a hospital but that do not imply that only run of the mill or easy procedures happen in ASCs. There are complex cases taken care of and treated but keeping in mind the capacity of the ASC.


Finally, one would not be wrong to state that ASCs are doing a remarkable job and even with all the problems and obstacles they are doing quite well for themselves and ASCs are here to stay and grow.

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