It’s been fascinating to watch and participate in the trend to performing surgeries in an outpatient setting, rather than in hospitals. We started hearing about this trend in the 1980s as our hospital customers reported certain types of surgeries moving out of the hospital into surgeon-owned surgery centers.
The Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC), is a relatively recent addition to the American healthcare system. The first free-standing ASC opened in 1970 in Arizona, followed by a small number of other outpatient surgery centers later that year. Following the American Society of Anesthesiologists establishing guidelines for outpatient surgery, rapid growth of surgery centers ensued. By 1988 there were 1,000 surgery centers across the country, due to the approval by for Medicare reimbursement for over 200 procedures. There are now over 5,000 centers with Medicare approval for over 3500 procedures.
In the past several years more complicated surgeries, such as total knee replacements and hip surgeries are being performed on an outpatient surgery basis. This trend is primarily due to the advance and innovation in pain management.
Although initially primarily physician-owned, an ASC can be a shared ownership model (physician-hospital), or partially owned and or managed by a Surgery Center Management Company, such as USPI, SCA or Surgery Partners. Outpatient surgery centers are especially cost-conscious and appreciate our high quality, cost-effective products.
We are proud members of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (www.ascassociation.org), partnering with them to support our ASC customers with continuing education, professional certification and in lobbying efforts in state legislatures and Washington DC.