ASC utilization rates on the rise while inpatient surgery decreases, study says

An analysis conducted by Cedar Gate Technologies found that ambulatory surgical center rates of utilization increased by over 10 percent while inpatient surgery rates dropped by over 7 percent between 2019 and 2021. 

The analysis took anonymous data of over 12 million commercial insurance members, according to a Jan. 10 news release. Researchers found that while all surgical volume dropped at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April of 2020, when volumes recovered by June 2020, more surgeries were taking place in outpatient settings.  

"The pandemic accelerated a trend toward decreasing inpatient surgeries, and this shift is impacting hospital revenue in real time," Rajiv Mahale, chief analytics product officer and senior vice president of Cedar Gate, said in the release. 

He continued that experts are increasingly in agreement that inpatient surgery levels are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic rates. 

"Increases in outpatient and ASC surgical volumes, however, present an opportunity for value-based care delivery models by providing strong patient outcomes and lower costs," Mr. Mahale said.

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