The ASC community from inception to present day.

Print the ASC Journey


Healthcare professionals and government officials begin calling for affordable, accessible, quality outpatient surgery alternatives.


Facilities dedicated to providing ambulatory surgery care open in conjunction with hospitals in California and Washington, DC.


Wallace Reed, MD, and John Ford, MD, develop objectives and commit their idea for a freestanding ambulatory surgery facility to paper for the first time. They begin collecting endorsements from governmental bodies and members of the healthcare community to obtain financing for the project.


The first ASC opens for business on February 12. By the summer, 225 surgeons working in that ASC have the support of more than 40 insurers.

Early 1970s

A handful of other ASCs open throughout the United States.


The American Medical Association (AMA) adopts a resolution endorsing the concept of outpatient surgery under general and local anesthesia for selected procedures and selected patients.


The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) establishes some of the first standards for the ASC community when it releases “Guidelines for Ambulatory Surgical Facilities,” a list of nine criteria approved by the ASA House of Delegates.


The Society of Freestanding Ambulatory Surgical Care—the organization that would eventually become the Foundation for Ambulatory Surgery in America (FASA) and later the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA)—is incorporated.


Rapid growth—a total of 42 surgery centers are in operation in the US by 1975. An additional 25 facilities open in 1976.


ASCs begin to become accredited through The Joint Commission and the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).


The American Association for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (AAASC) is incorporated.


The ASC community continues to grow as the number of ASCs reaches triple digits.


Medicare approves payment to ASCs for approximately 200 procedures.


Medicare expands its list of covered procedures in ASCs to 1,535 procedures.


The number of ASCs in the United States reaches 1,000.

Using the information from a 1986 cost survey of ASCs, Medicare implements a new payment system for ASCs, which remains the basis for ASC payments today.


Beth Derby is elected the first woman president of FASA and becomes the first nurse to serve in this capacity.


Medicare expands the ASC list to cover more than 2,000 procedures.

ASCs go international with the formation of the International Association for Ambulatory Surgery (IAAS) during the First International Congress on Ambulatory Surgery in Brussels.


FASA moves to expand services to its members and demonstrate the quality provided in ASCs by offering an industry-wide Outcomes Monitoring Project.


The Board of Ambulatory Surgery Certification (BASC) creates the Certified Administrator Surgery Center (CASC)™ credential.


FASA expands its advocacy activities with a full year of events involving its members, including a legislative seminar and the first Save Our Surgicenter (SOS) Day letter-writing campaign, which results in more than 10,000 letters sent to members of Congress on April 21.


More than 4,000 ASCs in the US perform eight million surgeries annually.

Medicare agrees to reimburse ASCs for providing more than 2,400 procedures to its beneficiaries.


The ASC community establishes the ASC Quality Collaboration to develop ASC quality measures, publicly report data and support high-quality care in ASCs.


On January 1, AAASC and FASA merge to form present-day ASCA.


The number of ASCs exceeds 5,000.


More than 5,300 ASCs in the United States perform 23 million surgeries annually.

Medicare grants approval for ASCs to perform more than 3,500 procedures.


Medicare implements the first national quality reporting program for ASCs.


The number of ASCs grows to 5,400.


In December, Congress passes the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation that includes two key provisions that benefit Medicare patients and the physicians who care for them in ASCs.


BASC introduces the Certified Ambulatory Infection Preventionist (CAIP)™ credential.


In March, an ASC representative is appointed to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment (HOP).

In September, CMS announces a final rule to relieve burdens on healthcare providers related to transfer agreements with hospitals, medical history and physical assessments and emergency preparedness.


On January 1, CMS finalizes the addition of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and six new cardiac codes to the ASC-payable list.