99 ASC benchmarks to know | 2021

Here are 99 operations, finance and quality benchmarks in ASCs gathered from several sources across the industry.

ASC leader pay and demographics

The following statistics are based on OR Manager's "2020 Career & Salary" survey, the most recent version available, which fielded responses from ASC and hospital administrators across the U.S. on salary, job satisfaction and more.

  1. Fifty-three percent of ASC leaders said they earned $120,000 or more in annual total compensation. In 2019, 42 percent of ASC leaders said they earned $120,000 or more.
  2. Staffing was the biggest concern among ASC leaders, earning 37 percent of responses.
  3. Only 11 percent of ASC leaders said they earned less than $80,000 in total compensation, and 7 percent said they earned $200,000 or more.
  4. Eighty-one percent of respondents said they oversee one to five operating rooms, up 4 percent from 2019.
  5. Six percent said they manage 10 or more, down 1 percent from 2019.
  6. The average age of ASC leaders who responded was 52 years.
  7. Twenty-nine percent of respondents had a master's degree.
  8. Twenty percent said they have five years of experience or less, 56 percent said they have more than 10 years, and 26 percent said they have more than 25 years of experience.
  9. Eighty-seven percent were female.
  10. Eighty-seven percent were RNs.
  11. Twenty-eight percent of ASC leaders who responded said they plan to retire by 2024, and 55 percent said they will retire by 2029 or later.

Physician pay

The following statistics are based on the "Physician Compensation Report 2020" from Physicians Thrive, a financial planning company. The report compiled data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Doximity, Merritt Hawkins, Medscape and Salary.com to develop the report

Median annual pay for 10 specialties:

  1. Neurosurgeon: $645,000
  2. Cardiovascular surgeon: $608,354
  3. Orthopedic surgeon: $500,000
  4. Invasive cardiologist: $482,500
  5. Gastroenterologist: $400,000
  6. Noninvasive cardiologist: $375,000
  7. Urologist: $368,744
  8. Anesthesiologist: $305,246
  9. Otolaryngologist: $305,000
  10. Ophthalmologist: $237,000

The following statistics are based on AMGA's "2021 Medical Group Compensation and Productivity" survey. 

Surgical specialists and proceduralists reported a slight drop in overall pay despite large decreases in productivity last year during the pandemic. Physician productivity dropped 10.17 percent on average in 2020, compared to a 0.56 percent increase in 2019.


  1. Pay: 0.74 percent drop
  2. Work relative value units: 17.1 percent drop
  3. Compensation per wRVU: 15.24 percent increase

Orthopedic surgery

  1. Pay: 0.89 percent drop
  2. wRVUs: 14.84 percent drop
  3. Compensation per wRVU: 11.36 percent increase

General surgery

  1. Pay: 2.69 percent decrease
  2. wRVUs: 12.18 percent decrease
  3. Compensation per wRVU: 8.95 percent increase

Staff pay

Physician assistant

  1. According to a June 25 Medscape physician assistant compensation report, the mean salary for physician assistants is $126,000.
  2. Critical care is the highest-earning specialty at $139,000 per year.
  3. Physician assistants working in the operating room and in surgery earn the highest when compared to other workplace settings, at $139,000.
  4. According to U.S. News & World Report, physician assistant pay has continuously risen since 2010, when the average salary was below $90,000.
  5. The five cities with the highest physician assistant salary are Salinas, Calif.; Leominster, Mass.; Waterbury, Conn.; Danbury, Conn.; and New Bern, N.C.
  6. According to the 2021 American Academy of PAs salary report, the top six states for annual base salary are Alaska, California, Washington, Hawaii, Vermont and Wyoming, the last three of which were tied.
  7. The five states with the lowest annual base salary are Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alabama.

The top 10 states with the highest salaries for registered nurses, certified registered nurse anesthetists and physician assistants, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Registered nurses

  1. California: $120,560
  2. Hawaii: $104,830
  3. Massachusetts: $96,250
  4. Oregon: $96,230
  5. Alaska: $95,270
  6. Washington: $91,310
  7. New York: $89,760
  8. Nevada: $89,750
  9. New Jersey: $85,720
  10. Connecticut: $84,850

Certified registered nurse anesthetists

  1. Wyoming: $243,310
  2. Montana: $239,380
  3. Oregon: $234,750
  4. Wisconsin: $233,600
  5. California: $227,290
  6. Iowa: $202,400
  7. Massachusetts: $201,890
  8. New York: $200,350
  9. Illinois: $199,660
  10. Connecticut: $198,750

Physician assistants

  1. Alaska: $150,430
  2. Connecticut: $146,110
  3. Rhode Island: $135,800
  4. California: $135,180
  5. Nevada: $134,710
  6. New Jersey: $131,210
  7. Vermont: $128,050
  8. New York: $126,370
  9. Washington: $129,910
  10. New Hampshire: $124,080

Quality benchmarks

The following data is based on the "ASC Quality Collaboration Quality Report" from the first quarter of 2021. The data was collected Jan. 1, 2021, through March 30, 2021.

  1. Patient fall rate per 1,000 ASC admissions: 0.2
  2. Patient burn rate per 1,000 ASC admissions: 0.014
  3. Hospital transfers/admissions per 1,000 ASC admissions: 0.897
  4. Rate of wrong site, side, patient, procedure, implant per 1,000 ASC admissions: 0.029
  5. Percentage of eligible ASC patients with normothermia: 98.2 percent
  6. Percentage of ASC cataract patients with unplanned anterior vitrectomy: 0.35 percent
  7. Rate of toxic anterior segment syndrome per 1,000 admissions: 0.075
  8. Rate of emergency department visits within one day of discharge per 1,000 admissions: 0.819
  9. Rate of unplanned hospital admissions within one day of ASC discharge per 1,000 admissions: 0.349
  10. Only 9 percent of ASCs require their administrators to hold the Certified Administrator Surgery Center credential. Among that 9 percent, less than half pay their CASC-certified staff more than those without the credential.
  11. Sixteen percent of ASCs require their infection preventionists to hold the Certified Ambulatory Infection Preventionist credential, while 11 percent require them to hold the Certification in Infection Prevention and Control credential. Out of all ASCs that require either of the two, 73 percent pay their credentialed staff more.


The following data is based on the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association's 2021 "Salary & Benefits Survey" released Aug. 20.

Most surgery centers budgeted 3 percent raises for staff in 2021. Other benefits include:

  1. Retirement benefits: 92 percent of centers
  2. Profit-sharing plans: 34 percent of centers
  3. Paid time off for full-time employees: 97 percent of centers
  4. Median paid days off: 21
  5. Tuition reimbursement and continuing education: 47 percent of centers
  6. Seventy-one percent of ASCs projected hiring would increase this year as compared to previous years. 
  7. Employee turnover rates were 20 percent or higher in 2020 for about one-fifth of the respondents, and 35 percent said turnover rates were higher than in 2019.
  8. ASCA gathered data from 600 member ASCs in June, with 95 percent of the centers having at least partial physician ownership.

Turnover trends

  1. Eighteen percent of ASCs reported turnover rates greater than 20 percent in 2020.
  2. Forty-one percent reported the same turnover rate as 2019.
  3. Thirty-five percent reported a generally higher turnover rate in 2020 than 2019.
  4. Twenty-four percent of ASCs showed a turnover rate of 1 to 5 percent among management.
  5. Seventy-two percent reported no management turnover at all.
  6. Eleven percent of ASCs reported no voluntary turnover in clinical staff.
  7. Forty-eight percent reported a 1 to 5 percent turnover rate.
  8. Ten percent reported a more than 20 percent turnover rate.
  9. Thirty-nine percent reported no voluntary turnover in nonclinical staff.
  10. Forty-six percent reported 1 to 5 percent turnover.
  11. Two percent reported turnover rates higher than 20 percent

Employee health plans

  1. The survey found that 98 percent of ASCs offer health insurance benefits for employees, and 95 percent offer family insurance plans. 
  2. Fifty-eight percent of respondents reported making changes to their health plans last year to control costs. Those changes include increasing deductibles, increasing employee copay and changing insurance carriers.

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