Published September 30, 2020
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A recent report shows Medicare can save $73.4 billion through 2028 by performing surgeries on Medicare patients in Ambulatory Surgery Centers instead of hospital outpatient departments.
An Ambulatory Surgical Center, or ASC, is a health care facility that specializes in providing same-day surgical care including diagnostic and preventive procedures.
The report, issued by the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and conducted by KNG Health Consulting, shows that Medicare saved $4.2 billion in 2018 alone when surgeries were performed at an ASC as opposed to a hospital surgical facility.
The study examined surgery costs from 2011 to 2018 and forecasted savings will increase significantly over the next decade.
According to the report, Medicare saved $28.7 billion from 2011 to 2018 from surgeries that were performed in ASCs instead of hospital outpatient centers.
The bulk of those savings were from high-volume procedures such as cataract surgeries and colonoscopies. But going forward, most of the future savings will be derived from cardiovascular, orthopedic and endocrine procedures.
Five procedure areas — eye and ocular adnexa, cardiovascular, nervous system, digestive system and musculoskeletal — are projected to save Medicare $1 billion annually by being performed in an ASC.
Additional studies have found that the cost of surgical procedures at an ambulatory surgical center is often less than when performed at a hospital outpatient facility. One study using CDC data of more than 52,000 patients at 437 different medical facilities found savings to range from $363 to $1,000 at ASCs.
There are more than 5,800 Medicare-certified ASCs in the U.S. Medicare Part B provides coverage for facility service fees related to approved surgical procedures provided in an ambulatory surgical center. The Part B deductible and coinsurance apply, just as they do for procedures performed at hospital outpatient centers.
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