US News previews ASC ratings ahead of full launch

U.S. News & World Report has rated ambulatory surgery centers for the first time this year after decades of rating acute care hospitals across the nation, and surgery center leaders can now preview their results.

"When we started ranking hospitals in the 1990s, most surgical care was provided in the hospitals. Now it's not performed in the hospitals as much. It's in ASCs," said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News.

U.S. News took a similar approach for the ASC ratings as the hospital rankings, focused on CMS data. ASCs aren't able to opt in or out of the ratings; if they send claims to CMS, they're automatically examined.

"It puts no burden on ASCs to compile and submit data. The database is a well-audited data set, and it's used as the basis for payment. It's rigorously reviewed," said Mr. Harder. "It captures tens of millions of beneficiaries."

U.S. News works with an analytics contractor to find four specialties for the debut edition of the Best ASCs list:

  • Orthopedics and spine
  • Urology
  • Ophthalmology
  • GI

The ratings are separated by specialty, and multispecialty ASCs receive a rating in each category. Every procedure evaluated was done by more than 100 ASCs nationwide based on data from 2020 to 2022. ASCs will be categorized as "high performing," "average" or "below average."

U.S. News has solicited feedback and input from healthcare professionals, and met with ASC professional organizations to seek input on rankings. The publication has also taken provider perspective into consideration for future editions of this list.

"We hope that consumers quickly recognize this as another resource and authoritative source of information on surgery centers," said Mr. Harder. "As they are weighing their options on where to receive care, they can compare ASCs to one another and make sure they have the safety they would expect."

ASC leaders can log into US News' dashboard here to see their own ratings. The full rankings will be released May 14.

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