Ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) are specialized medical facilities that provide same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures. These centers are designed to offer world-class outpatient treatments, eliminating the need for prolonged overnight stays. Outpatient means that a patient is not admitted to a hospital and can go home the same day of the procedure. ASCs have been transforming the way patients experience surgery for the past 10 years. The word ambulatory comes from the Latin verb ambulare, which means “walking”.
This implies that patients treated at these surgical centers do not require admission to a hospital and are well enough to return home after the procedure. Outpatient surgery centers are also known as surgical centers. They have converted a high percentage of inpatient hospital care to outpatient care, meaning that many surgeries or procedures that were traditionally done in hospitals can now be performed in an ASC in a one-day visit and do not require a formal overnight hospitalization. Examples of surgeries that can be performed in an outpatient surgery center include biopsies, ACL reconstruction, hernia repair, gastric bypass surgery for weight loss, and cataract surgery. The Fort Collins Surgery Center specializes in, but is not limited to, general surgery, gynecology, neurosurgery, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, and podiatry.
An outpatient surgery center must have at least one dedicated operating room to qualify for accreditation. Medicare's current fee schedule is based on data from 1986, when operating costs for many outpatient surgery centers were higher than in 2003 due to advances in technology. A patient in an outpatient surgical center is asked to observe some of the same precautions and preparations that hospital patients undergo, including routine blood tests and a complete medical history to ensure that they will not have an adverse reaction to anesthesia. The first outpatient surgical center was opened in 1970 by a group of anesthesiologists in Phoenix, Arizona. Since then, these facilities have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and cost-effectiveness. The main legal question faced by surgeons who own or have investments in outpatient surgical centers is whether they are breaking the law by referring patients to the ASCs in which they have invested or in which they perform surgery. Beginning in 2003, there are several areas of tension in the healthcare system related to outpatient surgical centers.
These include rising costs due to advances in technology and legal questions surrounding referrals from surgeons who own or have investments in these facilities.