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Over the next decade, the United States healthcare system has the potential to save billions of dollars by changing the setting for some surgical procedures from hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) to ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). Ambulatory surgery centers deliver the same high-quality outcomes as hospital-based settings but at a lower cost.

Analyzing Enrollment Data to Predict Savings

Studies show ASCs deliver services more efficiently and less expensively than HOPDs. The Elevance Health Public Policy Institute analyzed commercial plan enrollment claims data from 14 states to determine potential national cost savings. The report shows the cost of a colonoscopy or upper gastrointestinal (GI) procedure in a HOPD was 1.7 times higher than in an ASC. 

Saving the Healthcare System and Consumers Money

The healthcare system could save approximately $12 billion over 10 years, if just one in five upper GI and colonoscopy procedures were moved to an ambulatory surgery center. The same report revealed consumers currently save as much as $5 billion annually in out-of-pocket costs when having procedures performed in an ASC. Depending on the procedure, consumers can save approximately $1,000 per ASC-based surgery. 

Increasing Consumer and Provider Satisfaction

Ambulatory surgery centers provide greater convenience for consumers by offering more locations to receive care, which results in better scheduling options. Studies show that consumers prefer the care they receive in an ASC. 

ASCs also offer surgical staff more autonomy and the ability to create an environment that is customized for the specific procedures they perform. These reasons have contributed to the number of ASCs growing significantly over recent years.

Combining Increased Satisfaction and Savings

These results indicate that significant cost savings are available not only for consumers, but the entire healthcare system. Where care is delivered plays a large role in how much it costs, which can have a direct impact on out-of-pocket savings. Leveraging these opportunities to increase satisfaction, while reducing costs, is key to delivering on our commitment to creating a more affordable healthcare experience.

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