After an extended period of stationary growth primarily due to a glut of capacity coupled with flat or declining revenue growth, we are now able to see a resurgence of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs).
As a matter of fact, experts are forecasting a significant growth spurt in the Ambulatory Surgery Center industry including the 24/7 care. This growth is likely precipitated by the move toward outpatient care, especially into more focused, efficient, and cost effective settings, such as ASCs.
With that growth in mind, and with the anticipated increase in deal volume, it’s beneficial to review our thoughts on Ambulatory Surgery Center ownership, including 24//7 working models and industry trends. But for those physicians, who are not of the view, remember that you can realize better outcomes, at a significant cost savings and with more personalized service.
Some peculiar reasons for Ambulatory Surgery Center to operate 24/7
Better-quality Outcomes and patient care
Most of the surgeries are often short, recovery time is faster and the infection rate is half that of hospitals when surgeries are performed in an ASC setting.
For example, a recent study in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery analyzing ankle fracture surgeries found that patients who received the surgery in an ASC had lower rates of urinary tract infections, pneumonia and blood clots, and were less likely to need blood transfusions than those who received the surgery in a hospital setting.
Another research done by economists Elizabeth Munrich and Stephan Parente found that the time a patient spent in an ASC was almost 26% less than a hospital outpatient setting for the same procedure, but this does not mean that they won’t require a 24/7 care.
Additionally, ASC patients were less likely to visit the hospital in the week following their surgery. It’s pretty similar medical billing and coding, where the doctors have to wait for reimbursements till the end of the month, before the insurance providers has verified all the charging details.
Cost Savings can be achieved
Ambulatory surgical centers can be 45-60% less expensive than hospitals, and this number can go more down if they operate 24/7. This can provide significant savings to patients, insurers and taxpayers. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated savings of $15 billion for taxpayers and $3 billion for Medicare patients if all qualifying surgeries were performed at an ASC that operate 24/7.
But as, mentioned above these cost savings typically come with equal or improved quality of care. There’s no difference in physician training, as the surgeons have credentials to operate in both hospital and ASC settings depending on the procedure and the patient. The price difference is simply due to the lean structure of an ambulatory surgical center and their increased efficiency, plus the vagaries in medical billing and coding.
Individual attention can be given
As of now ASCs do have the challenge of operating 24/7 leading to handle any type of illness, surgery or emergency that may arise. As a result, they can be highly specialized and nimble.
Any scheduled surgery won’t be delayed due to an emergency, and the staff member who contacts you in advance of your appointment will likely see you the day you come in and follow up with you during recovery.
If you have concerns or questions, you won’t need to explain your situation to the nurse or surgeon on call. Instead, the clinicians and staff on site will already know your situation and medical background.
Because of these factors, ASCs can ensure that you receive highly personalized service and the best possible experience. In fact, one study found that 90% of patients were satisfied with the medical care and service received at an ASC. So, there’s a good hope for 24/7 ASCs.
For these reasons, ambulatory surgical centers have been growing rapidly in the last 15 years and we believe so deeply in the value it can provide patients.