Patients and Payers Cut Costs With ASCs

February 2018

By Ann Peters
Manager, Research & Analytics

The cost of medical procedures performed at ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) is generally lower than that of procedures performed at hospital inpatient departments. Both the number and range of procedures performed in ASCs has grown substantially in recent years, leading to lower costs for both public and private payers, as well as patients. By one estimate, consumers could save up to $5 billion if more care was shifted to existing ASCs.

HIDA’s 2018 Ambulatory Surgery Center Market Report offers an in-depth look at ASC market conditions, as well as factors affecting demand and utilization. The following is a look at some of the key trends and data points collected for this new report.

ASCs handle the majority of outpatient surgeries

Last year, ASCs handled approximately 58 percent of outpatient surgeries, up from 41 percent in 2005. This figure will continue to grow, with ASCs handling 60 percent of outpatient surgeries by 2020. At the same time, more surgeries are shifting from inpatient to outpatient settings. In 2005, 58 percent of surgeries were performed in an outpatient setting, and this figure is expected to reach 64 percent by 2020.

ASCs to treat more surgeries of all types

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is focused on paying the same amount for certain medical procedures, regardless of setting. Currently, hospital outpatient departments are paid more than ASCs for outpatient surgery. Beginning this year, hospitals will be paid 40% of the amount specified in the outpatient prospective payment system for certain procedures that can be performed at an ASC or a physician office. 

Publicly-owned ASCs experience steady revenue growth

HIDA analysis contained in the report shows that publicly-owned ASCs’ revenue grew steadily between 2014 and 2016. These companies’ per-procedure revenue increased by 52 percent, on average, during this period. Key drivers of this growth include surgical and anesthesia advances that allow more complex procedures to be performed at ASCs.

Publicly-traded ASCs also have seen rising profits during this period, though the share of their budget devoted to supplies is also rising. With their experience and unique perspective, distributors can bring a unique value to these fast-growing providers by offering supply chain solutions.

While these are some of the key growth trends affecting market conditions for ASCs, these providers also face a number of risks and constraints. Certificate-of-need programs, quality reporting requirements, and industry consolidation are among the (challenges, or something else, for which these facilities need to account). For an in-depth look at this rapidly changing healthcare segment, visit to purchase your copy of HIDA’s 2018 Ambulatory Surgery Center Market Report.

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