Ambulatory Surgery Centers Increase in Popularity
Ambulatory surgical centers have gained in popularity because they offer lower costs, more personalized care and more comfortable medical environments, according to surgeons and patients, USA Today reports. ASCs, among other services, can offer extensive cosmetic, gynecological, urological and dental surgeries, as well as common cardiac and orthopedic surgeries.
Some experts -- such as Lee Fleisher, chair of anesthesiology and critical care for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, who has conducted research on outpatient surgical centers -- have raised concerns about the lack of adequate postoperative and emergency services as more elderly patients and patients with multiple chronic conditions undergo procedures at the facilities.
Among the 50 million outpatient surgeries performed annually, 31% occur at ASCs with no attached hospital or emergency department, Fleisher said.
According to the Joint Commission, the number of ASCs increased by 25% from 2001 to 2006, and 4,618 -- more than half of all ASCs -- had registered with Medicare by last September (Brophy Marcus, USA Today, 7/30).