The biggest misconceptions about ASCs

From the number of procedures to safety, four ASC leaders joined Becker's to discuss the biggest misconceptions about surgery centers. 

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for clarity and length. 

Shakeel Ahmed, MD. Gastroenterologist and CEO of Atlas Surgical Group (Fairview, Ill.): The notion that ASCs represent an easy avenue for financial gain is a misconception. These entities are encumbered by substantial regulatory obligations, in addition to significant operational expenditures and overhead. Concurrently, there is a discernible trend of diminishing reimbursements from insurance entities. Collectively, these factors culminate in a scenario where, in numerous instances, the profit margins are constrained at the least and nonexistent at worst. 

Christopher Blanchard, DO. Co-Medical Director of Resurgens Spine Center (Atlanta). One of the biggest misconceptions about ASCs is the scope of surgery that is able to be performed in an ASC setting. For decades, ASCs have been relegated to performing more minor cases like arthroscopies, foot and ankle and hand surgeries. Now we are seeing higher acuity cases such as total joint replacement and spine surgery be done in an ASC setting with great outcomes and lower overall cost.  

Thomas Feldman. CEO of Center for Health, ASC (Peoria, Ill.): A common misconception is that patients are unaware of how many procedures can be performed at ASCs. They think, for example, that they need to go to a hospital for their total joint replacement surgery, or another major operation. In almost every instance, the cost to both the patient and insurance carrier is significantly lower [at ASCs].

Shailesh Patel, MD. Pain Management Specialist at Lowcountry Orthopaedics (Charleston, S.C.): The biggest misconception is that hospitals are always the best place. As a matter of fact, ASCs are as safe as hospitals, as well as cheaper and more convenient.

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