Report Finds Big Jump in Surgeries Performed at Free-Standing Centers
The number of surgeries and other medical procedures performed annually at free-standing surgical centers increased to 15 million in 2006, a 300% increase from 1996, according to a report released on Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics at CDC, USA Today reports.
According to the report, surgeries performed at free-standing surgical centers account for 42% of all outpatient operations (Szabo, USA Today, 1/29).
Most outpatient surgeries occurred in hospital surgical centers, the report found.
In 2006, almost 35 million patients underwent outpatient surgeries, according to the report. The report found that women patients underwent more than 57% of all outpatient surgeries in 2006 (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 1/29).
According to the report, the most common conditions treated by outpatient surgeries include:
- Cataracts, with three million cases;
- Benign tumors, with two million cases;
- Cancer, with 1.2 million cases; and
- Esophageal disease and diverticulosis, both with 1.1 million cases (USA Today, 1/29).
The average length of time that patients remain in outpatient surgeries ranged from 66 minutes for operations to treat ear infections to more than two-and-one-half hours for operations to treat hernias, the report found (Bloomberg/Boston Globe, 1/29).
The report attributed the increase in the number of patients who undergo outpatient surgeries to improvements in pain medications and anesthesia, which allow patients to recover in less time with fewer complications.
In addition, patients have begun to undergo more procedures that require smaller incisions that cause less blood loss, according to the report.
The report found that changes in health insurance have prompted hospitals and physicians to perform more outpatient surgeries. The trend has "led some hospitals to be concerned that free-standing surgical centers will take away lucrative procedures that hospitals use to subsidize their care for the poor and uninsured," USA Today reports (USA Today, 1/29).The report is available online (.pdf). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.