We often seek medical treatment in one of two places: the doctor’s office or the hospital. But these days there are other options for skilled care. Depending on the procedure needed, outpatient ambulatory surgery centers may be just what the doctor ordered. By definition, ambulatory surgery centers (ASC’s) are “modern health care facilities focused on providing same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures.” Longview’s Pacific Surgical Center is one of these comprehensive medical hubs. They offer imaging, pre- and post-operative care, and outpatient treatment for urology, gastroenterology, podiatry, orthopedic, and general surgery needs with clearly posted transparency pricing.
ASC’s are not a new concept. They began in the 1970’s and have since changed the landscape of medicine. The national ASC Association explains that “Forty years ago, virtually all surgery was performed in hospitals. Waits of weeks or months for an appointment were not uncommon, and patients typically spent several days in the hospital and several weeks out of work in recovery…Faced with frustrations like scheduling delays, limited operating room availability, slow operating room turnover times, and challenges in obtaining new equipment due to hospital budgets and policies, physicians were looking for a better way―and developed it in ASC’s.”
Their development and growth now means that “in the ASC setting, physicians are able to schedule procedures more conveniently, assemble teams of specially trained and highly skilled staff, ensure that the equipment and supplies being used are best suited to their techniques, and design facilities tailored to their specialties and to the specific needs of their patients. Simply stated, physicians are striving for, and have found in ASC’s, professional autonomy over their work environment and over the quality of care that has not been available to them in hospitals.” In a recent survey of American ASC doctors, 87% reported positively when asked to “give your facility an overall rating on patient safety,” 83% said they “have enough staff to handle the workload,” and 95% said that “within this facility, we do a good job communicating information that affects patient care.”
Even federal programs like Medicare have jumped on the ASC bandwagon. Between 2017 and 2018, they changed their rules to allow for outpatient total knee arthroplasty for example. Now, this common operation can be performed efficiently at clinics like PSC. Market research projects that similar “advancements in surgical procedure offering high-quality settings at lower cost, by cutting down overnight stay charges, will fuel industry expansion.”
These lower costs help spread healthcare dollars and allow for the successful treatment of more people. Analysis shows that “The number of people with private health insurance is expected to decrease slightly in 2018…To cut costs, government payers will seek low-cost healthcare options, such as ambulatory surgery centers (ASC’s). According to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, ASC’s have the potential to save $57.6 billion in Medicare costs over the next decade.” One recent PSC patient found that carpal tunnel surgery would cost $3,500 in their outpatient setting but cost nearly four times as much in a hospital. He explained that “If I’m paying 20% of that co-pay, which most insurances have, 20% of $3,000 is $600, 20% of $12,000 was $2,400.”
And at PSC, you get the same price whether or not you use—or even have—traditional medical insurance. For many people, paying out of pocket and not billing the company at all is cheaper than going through all the red tape, copayments, and coinsurance.
Their flexibility and willingness to explain the financial in’s and out’s make PSC an ideal resource for business owners choosing self-funded insurance. They pool monies in a centralized fund and pay out as needed. ASC’s outpatient philosophy means fewer missed work days, shorter recovery times, and every dollar can go further.
This is good for local economies as well. With annual growth between 2013 and 2018 rising at 4.1%, ASC’s nationwide have hired more than 150,000 employees in that 5-year span.
Choosing a clinic like PSC doesn’t mean you’ll leave your primary care doctor behind. Their skilled physicians work with your existing medical team from start to finish to keep treatment goals on track. Financial advisors can help with billing and insurance should you choose. Unsure if an ASC is the right choice? Follow PSC on Facebook for updates, tips, tricks, patient stories, and more or visit their online portal of patient resources. Then give them a call at 360-442-7900 and put yourself on the road to recovery. You—your wallet, employer, and caregivers—will be glad you did.