What are ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs)?
Ambulatory surgery refers to surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed on an ambulatory (outpatient) basis in a hospital or freestanding center’s general operating rooms, dedicated ambulatory surgery rooms, and other specialized rooms such as endoscopy units and cardiac catheterization labs.

What are the benefits to patients at an ambulatory surgery center?
Patients who elect to have surgery in an ASC arrive on the day of the procedure, have the surgery in a fully equipped operating room, and recover under the care of the nursing staff, all without hospital admission. From pediatric patients to the elderly, clients and their families benefit from the comfortable environment of the ASC.

Do ASCs specialize in particular procedures?
ASCs may perform surgeries in a variety of specialties or dedicate their services to one specialty, such as eye care or sports medicine.

How do the costs compare to hospital-based services?

According to Monthly Labor Review, the cost of hospital care has risen 135 percent in the past decade. This has affected health care prices significantly because hospital expenses make up approximately 40 percent of all health costs. Since there are no hospital room charges at an ASC, a typical bill reflects big savings. As a result, many insurance plans cover certain surgical procedures on an outpatient basis only -unless a physician certifies the need for greater supervision, for example, because a medical condition makes surgery more risky for you.

What can you tell me about patient satisfaction?
Patient satisfaction is a hallmark of the ASC industry. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General surveyed Medicare beneficiaries who had one of four procedures in an ASC. He found that 98 percent of the people were satisfied with their experience.

Are ASCs licensed?
ASCs boast some of the most highly regarded health care providers in the country. Medicare has certified 85 percent of the centers, and Arkansas is one of 43 states that require ASCs to be licensed. These states also
specify the criteria that ASCs must meet for licensure. Both the states
and Medicare survey ASCs to verify that the established standards are being met.