According to a recent study by Healthcare Bluebook™, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) reduce costs of outpatient surgery by more than $38 billion dollars per year, and ASC prices are significantly lower than hospital outpatient department (HOPD) prices for the same procedures throughout the country, regardless of payer.

The analysis suggests ASCs achieve these savings by providing a lower cost site of care compared to HOPDs, and concludes that ASC patients’ out-of-pocket costs are reduced by more than $5 billion annually through lower deductible and coinsurance payments. In addition, for commercially insured populations, the study concludes that only 48 percent of procedures which could commonly be performed in ASCs are actually performed in ASCs. If the remaining 52 percent were performed at ASCs, another $41 billion in healthcare costs could be saved annually.

Healthcare Bluebook is a national provider of quality and cost data for healthcare services in partnership with HealthSmart®, an independent administrator of health plans for self‐funded employers. The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), representing the interests of more than 5,400 outpatient surgery centers, contributed technical assistance and expertise to the study and presented findings at a Capitol Hill briefing earlier this year.

“The physicians and nurses providing care in ambulatory surgery centers, as well as the millions of patients they have treated, have long known that ASCs provide a high-quality, low-cost site for outpatient procedures,” said William Prentice, chief executive officer of ASCA. “This study is solid evidence that consumers, policymakers, insurers and employers need to take fuller advantage of the exceptional healthcare value offered by ASCs.”

Regent Surgical Health CEO Chris Bishop welcomes this sort of documentation that highlites the cost efficiencies of ASCs. “Our experience with our 36 surgery centers in Regent’s history supports the findings of this study,” Bishop says. “We know that for appropriate procedures, ASCs present the opportunity not only to save substantially on costs, but also to improve patient convenience and improve the quality of care.”

But beyond savings to the consumer, Bishop says moving appropriate surgeries from hospitals to ASCs also benefits our hospital partners bottom-lines. “While payers reimburse less for ASC procedures than they do for the same procedures conducted in-house, hospitals are increasingly moving to population health payment strategies and require lower cost settings to deliver this care” he says. “And for physicians, working through jointly-owned ASCs complements their own need for efficiency with the inherent strengths of hospital partners, allowing them to improve ASC managed care rates and improving healthcare delivery to the community.”

“The analysis highlights how important it is for both employers and consumers to understand the large differences in local in-network prices,” said Healthcare Bluebook Chief Executive Officer Jeff Rice. “Both the employer and consumer can realize substantial savings by better utilizing the lower cost ASC providers in their existing networks.”

To learn how Regent’s team of experienced professionals can use our expertise to help physician and hospital partners achieve greater financial and clinical success, contact us today.