What is an Ambulatory Surgery Center and What Benefit is it to Patients?


What is an Ambulatory Surgery Center and What Benefit is it to Patients?

A medical team performing an operation

If you or a loved one needs to get an elective surgery, it may feel like there aren’t many options. But if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you have the option of getting that surgery in a hospital or in an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC). But what are ASCs? How do they differ from hospitals? And most importantly, what benefit are they to patients?

History of ASCs

It’s an unfortunate reality that the healthcare industry can be a costly, problematic, and inconvenient system to navigate. Thankfully, the rising awareness of healthcare failures has paved the way for improvement. This has resulted in the evolution of new systems aimed at providing an improved experience for patients.

Forty years ago, nearly all surgery was performed in hospitals. With hospital resources limited and stretched thin, waits spanning weeks or months were not uncommon for those needing care. It is out of this void that Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) were designed.

What are ASCs?

ASCs are healthcare facilities that provide patients the convenience of having surgeries and procedures performed safely outside the hospital setting. At ASCs, patients are typically discharged within 24 hours, saving the patient time and money. At an ASC, patients receive surgical care in a highly specialized and monitored environment.

Types of ASCs

Not all ASCs provide the same surgical procedures. Spanning from multi-specialty to highly specialized, here is a list of some of the common types of ASCs:

  • Cosmetic and facial surgery centers
  • Endoscopy centers
  • Ophthalmology practices
  • Laser eye surgery centers
  • Centers for oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery centers
  • Plastic surgery centers
  • Podiatry clinics

Gateway Surgery Center

Our ASC, Gateway Surgery Center in Everett, is a multi-specialty state-of-the-art facility that offers a patient-focused experience. Our exceptional and experienced staff is made up of board-certified physicians, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and support personnel. Our staff boasts years of experience in all aspects of surgical care, making them equipped to treat any member of your family through all stages of life.

Among the rising popularity of ASCs across the nation, Gateway Surgery Center was developed. The reputation of Gateway Surgery Center is largely due to the benefits that ASCs bring to patients requiring elective surgeries.

Reduced wait times

One of the most publicized pros of using an ASC is their reduced wait time for appointments. Patients no longer have to wait weeks or months for an appointment at a hospital surgery center. In a hospital surgery center, unforeseen emergency room demands are always a risk and can monopolize resources. This sometimes leads to the postponement of care. But because ASCs focus exclusively on a small number of processes in one setting, they are able to control over-scheduling in a way that hospitals cannot. And that’s why they can provide specialized care at a fraction of the wait time with virtually no scheduling changes. Conversely, hospital surgery centers have large-scale demands for space, resources, and management, making them vulnerable to unexpected events that lead to prolonged wait times.

Reduced cost

Not only are ASCs focused on creating the best surgical experience possible for their patients, they also are able to make transparent pricing a reality. Typically, ASCs disclose pricing information before surgery to help patients prepare for the financial impact of their surgery and to give them what they need up front to be educated when evaluating and comparing costs.

In addition to being upfront about rates, ASCs are a cost-effective, high-quality alternative to inpatient care for surgical services, and they are saving the government and ASC patients money. According to the ASC Association, if even half of the eligible surgical procedures moved from hospital outpatient departments to ASCs, Medicare would save an additional 25 billion dollars over the next decade.

Personalized care

Some ASCs are run by hospitals, half of all ASCs are owned by investors, and the rest are owned by the physicians who treat the patients. This benefits patients receiving surgical care at an ASC in several ways.

Patient satisfaction at ASCs is usually rated high, and partial credit is given to the closer patient-surgeon relationships that are built on familiarity in the surgery center. Because of the smaller-scale, more specialized nature of these surgery centers, ASC patients typically interact with a single nurse and surgeon throughout the entire process. In addition, surgeons are assigned to patients, making it easy for them to familiarize themselves with each case. Patients receiving care at an ASC obtain the consistent, non-repetitive care that is the result of being a part of a relationship-based, specialized surgery center.

Through these relationships, patients are able to better manage their pre and postoperative recovery, maximizing the benefits of surgery. It is not uncommon for a surgeon to even include their patient in the process of creating a hyper-specialized recovery plan. A patient’s involvement in the development of their post-op plan typically leads to a higher rate of patient compliance with the recovery regimen and greater long-term surgery success rates.

ASC safety standards

Gateway Surgery Center and other ASCs are highly regulated by federal and state entities. The quality of care offered in an ASC is observed and evaluated by state licensure, Medicare certification, and voluntary accreditation. ASCs must meet licensure requirements and continue to go through rigorous ongoing inspection and reporting. ASCs that provide care to Medicare beneficiaries must meet federal government requirements and Medicare standards. While state requirements differ, the vast majority of states require ASCs to be licensed in order to operate.

If you or a loved one is deciding where you should receive surgical care, consider our ASC, Gateway Surgery Center. We are conveniently located in Everett WA. With our high standards of quality care and exceptional staff, Gateway Surgery Center is equipped to offer you and your family the finest medical attention in our facility. Boasting two operating rooms, outfitted with the latest technology and equipment, we are pleased to provide the community with an alternative to inpatient surgical care.