Industry watchers look closely at pricing and cost benefits of surgeries performed in the hospital compared to the same procedures done in ambulatory surgery centers. ASC Focus, the ASCA Journal, reported new data online in March confirming that orthopedic surgeries cost less in the ASC than hospital outpatient department (HOPD). In fact, the HOPD charges 26% more for the same procedures.
This trend was reported first in a new research article published in the March 2022 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS). Researchers studied common orthopedic procedures during the 2013 and 2018 timeframe, with open carpel tunnel release, lumbar microdiscectomy, ACL reconstruction, knee arthroscopy, arthroscopic cuff repair and bunion repair as the focus of surgeries performed. The researchers noted that commercial ASC utilization increased from 31% across all procedures in 2013 to 34% in 2018.
Furthermore, looking at the average total costs, the study found that these surgical procedures were 26% lower in cost in ASCs for the same procedure compared to HOPDs. The analysis included data about differences in the patient populations such as age, sex and comorbidity. Factoring in the facility fee and surgeon professional payments, the costs were still lower in the ASC according to the JAAOS study.
The ASC Focus authors say, “These findings further confirm ASCs as a low-cost, high-quality site of service for outpatient orthopedic procedures. While certain patients will always be better suited for the hospital setting based on age or comorbidity, ASCA expects that further migration for commonly performed outpatient surgical procedures will continue to occur, not just in the orthopedic specialty but across all surgical specialties.” OSM