Health Affairs writes: Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are freestanding facilities that provide services to patients who do not require an overnight stay. The number of ASCs has grown rapidly over the past fifteen years, as have the number of surgical procedures performed at them. ASCs now compete with hospital outpatient departments. A study, published in Health Affairs, examined the revenue side of ASC growth by using a large national claims database that contains information on actual prices paid. For six common outpatient surgical procedures, prices paid to ASCs on the whole grew in line with general medical care prices, while overall prices paid to hospital outpatient departments for the same procedures climbed sharply. The authors write that this provides no evidence that ASCs are successfully pressuring hospital outpatient departments to lower their prices, but not unexpectedly, private insurers paid ASCs considerably more than Medicare paid ASCs for the same procedures. Medicare currently pays ASCs a legislated percentage of what it pays hospital outpatient departments for the same services, but there is a considerable discrepancy between this ratio and the ratio of payments by private insurers across provider types and procedures. According to the authors, the findings of this study questions the wisdom of using a single ratio for ASC payments to hospital outpatient department payments.
- Price Increases Were Much Lower In Ambulatory Surgery Centers Than Hospital Outpatient Departments In 2007–12. Health Affairs, October 2015