Surgery Centers and Cost Savings

by Akshay Menon

When was the last time you heard someone say something positive about Healthcare? Unfortunately, most of the time it seems like we don't often have something positive to say, but can you blame us? Rising institutional costs and steep personal deductibles hit us where it hurts - our wallets. In today's difficult economy, the prospect of shelling out even greater sums in premiums for insurance or copays can sound so uninviting that many people choose to shun insurance coverage altogether. 

There are a lot of falsities mixed into the web of news coverage, and it's hard to filter out the truths from the exaggerations. However, here's what we know! Institutional costs for healthcare have risen sharply over the past few decades. No one particular administration has done anything to curb spikes in costs across all areas of healthcare. 

One particular solution that we have seen as of late is the emergence of independent Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC's). These centers, after considerable state-run inspections, have gained the right to perform surgeries in their own facilities. Often these centers are single specialty practices, and concentrate on providing excellent care in just their area of expertise. There is actually a considerable fiscal incentive for both physicians and patients. 

Surgery centers such as these are forced to create an efficient operational environment. Wasted time is minimized in order to avoid piling expenses. On average, more surgeries are conducted by each physician per hour. Often critics cite this incentive to fit in more procedures per day as a cautionary drawback. If a surgeon is speeding through surgeries, how can we be sure that each procedure is conducted with tact and care? The data points to a different realization. Most surgeons having conducted a multitude of certain cases are skilled in carefully but efficiently finishing the procedure. More so, the real time-saver is that several rudimentary, low-risk surgeries such as tonsillectomies are conducted quickly. Altogether, surgery centers are able to see more patients in a given year and thereby reduce waiting times and bring increased efficacy to patient care.