March 15, 2022

Research shows orthopedic procedures cost less in ASCs

By: Tarsilla Moura
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Editor's Note

According to ASC Focus, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association journal, new research was recently published that supports older data pointing to the cost savings of orthopedic procedures being done in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) compared to hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs).

Past research cited by ASC Focus included an analysis done by KNG Health Consulting from 2020 that “showed significant savings due to orthopedic procedure performance in ASCs for Medicare beneficiaries.” Between 2011 and 2018, musculoskeletal procedures done in ASCs as opposed to HOPDs saved Medicare some $3.26 billion.

And more recently, an article published in the March 2022 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons continues to present research showing “low costs for orthopedic surgery at ASCs” compared to HOPDs, “even as utilization of ASCs increases.” The research encompassed 990,980 commercial cases from 2013 to 2018 and included the following procedures: open carpal tunnel release, lumbar microdiscectomy, anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, knee arthroscopy, arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, and bunion repair.

“On average, total costs were 26 percent lower for orthopedic surgical procedures at ASCs compared to HOPDs,” ASC Focus surmised. Other figures include overall ASC commercial utilization (which increased from 31% in 2013 to 34% in 2018) and ASC surgeon salary (surgeons were paid 11% higher at ASCs compared to HOPDs).

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