Early this year, one of the first total hip replacements paid for by Medicare was performed on a woman in her late 80s at our outpatient surgery center. This was only possible because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) moved outpatient total hips to the ASC-approved procedure list for 2021. She was healthy but, because of her age, we made sure we got her in early in the day in case she needed more recovery time before we could safely send her home. The operation was a success and she's now living a more active and pain-free life.
We expect CMS's policy shift to let our surgeons replace the hips of about 200 other patients this year, about the same number of Medicare-funded total knees we did in 2020 when CMS added that procedure to the ASC-approved list. The migration of these procedures from inpatient hospitals to the outpatient arena benefits a segment of the population in our community who are in pain, a population our physicians are committed to serving. Surgery centers need to grow in order to sustain themselves long-term, so access to a new group of patients has been a welcome development.