Ultimately, the implementation of value-based care initiatives will drive the creation of a fairer and more equitable playing field in healthcare, but progress is never linear. In healthcare, you can gain leverage and lose it; you can take big leaps forward only to have a global pandemic push it right back. Change is slow, but there is movement. Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), as just one example, with their ability to provide cost-effective care and statistically safer clinical outcomes than in-patient facilities, are a key to moving affordable healthcare forward.

There are approximately 5,300 ASCs in the U.S., and more than 90% are owned or partially owned by physicians. Their streamlined, outpatient models provide a much-needed alternative for many elective or non-emergency procedures - a fact that has only grown in need as hospitals are stretched to their limits.

According to a study by the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, ASCs were able to generate $28.7 billion in savings to Medicare during an eight-year period from 2011 to 2018 and will generate more than $70 billion dollars in savings by 2028. Researchers anticipate that advances in orthopaedic, cardiology and spine procedures will lead to a larger number of outpatient procedures in the near future.

Research has also proven ASCs are associated with lower infection rates than hospitals and more efficient for physicians and patients alike. And with a personal stake in reimbursement, physicians are motivated to further scrutinize operational costs and protocols, improving the efficiency and economics of surgical cases. If you are looking for why we are seeing a tremendous growth in ASCs, check out this article.

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