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Growth of ASCs Could Save Taxpayers Hundreds of Millions in Medicare Dollars by 2017

As the number of surgery centers increases across the country, patients, payors and federal agencies may save significant dollars on healthcare, while still experiencing and promoting high-quality medical care, according to an ASCA report on study results from the American Journal of Gastroenterology (pdf).

The research suggests that the growth of community-based ASCs could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars through Medicare alone over the next four years.

The study also showed that ASCs do not drive unnecessary care. With the exception of colonoscopies, which are being pushed as a preventive colon cancer measure by providers nationally, no growth in total procedures was observed as the number of ASCs grew. No increased utilization of ASCs occurs with procedures such as cataract and arthroscopy.

The study also makes clear that, contrary to the suggestions of some, ASCs do not drive up the demand for medical care. In fact, except in the case of colonoscopies, which national health officials are encouraging more patients to obtain, no growth in the total number of procedures being performed was observed as the number of ASCs increased.

"The report conclusively shows not only that surgical care provided inside ASCs is vital to improving the well-being of patients, but also that ASCs can save taxpayers millions of dollars by making our Medicare system more cost-efficient," said ASCA CEO William Prentice, in a release. "As policymakers struggle to find ways to cut costs and improve access, they should view ASCs as one solution to the rising cost of health care. They should take advantage of these savings, putting policies in place that expand opportunities for patients to take advantage of the top-quality, patient-focused care that ASCs provide."

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