The highest-paid ASC specialty

Orthopedics was named the top earner in Medscape's 2024 "Physician Compensation Report," with an average annual salary of $558,000. 

Orthopedics has been Medscape's second-highest-paid ASC specialty since 2020, when it last topped the list. Plastic surgery held the spot as the top-earning specialty from 2021 to 2023. 

With higher-acuity cases shifting to the outpatient setting, more orthopedic procedures are becoming commonplace at ASCs. In 2022, orthopedics was the most common specialty for Medicare-certified ASCs, according to data from the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. 

In 2023, the number of orthopedic procedures in outpatient settings was 33 times higher than the volume of inpatient procedures, according to the American Joint Replacement Registry's annual report. From 2019 to 2023, the number of knee replacement procedures occurring in the outpatient setting increased by 293%. 

Orthopedics is likely to continue to grow for ASCs, with CMS adding five orthopedic codes in its final rules for the 2024 Physician Fee Schedule and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System in November, including total shoulder arthroscopy.

"As an orthopedic CEO and practicing surgeon, I've witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of outpatient hip and knee arthroplasty on our surgery centers," David Jevsevar, MD, CEO of OrthoVirginia, told Becker's in September. "These procedures significantly enhance our center's efficiency, allowing us to treat more patients without the need for extended hospital stays. This not only streamlines our operations but also translates to a notable reduction in overhead costs associated with prolonged inpatient care."

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