Guidelines, insurance companies sending more colonoscopy screenings to ASCs

Earlier this year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lowered its recommended age for colorectal screening from age 50 to 45. One result is that providers for the procedure experienced a huge overnight growth in their patient populations.

Bill Rhoades, COO of Harrisburg (Pa.) Endoscopy and Surgery Center, told "Becker's ASC Review Podcast" that the lowered guideline, along with insurance companies encouraging members to seek treatment at ASCs, are key factors for endoscopy growth in the near future.

Note: This is an edited excerpt. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Question: How do you see your surgery center evolving or growing in the next three years or so? 

Bill Rhoades: Even though we are a surgery center, I would say our bread and butter — 90 percent of what we do — is GI endoscopy. With the changes going in the guidelines, where they're stating that screening colonoscopies are going from a 50-year-old [standard] down to a 45-year-old [standard], that's a huge difference in the patient population. We've already seen [that] to be a big increase.

The insurance companies are gaining more interest in ASCs because we're doing the procedure exactly the same as in the hospital. There's really no difference. But what we charge is way lower than the hospital by about a third. So the insurance companies are starting to trend toward saying to their members, 'Hey, if you go to an ASC, you may not even have to pay out of pocket. We may cover it totally.'

I think that's going to happen more and more down the road — at least, we hope so. 

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