ASCA Response to PHC4 Report Emphasizes True Value of ASCs

ALEXANDRIA, VA, November 20, 2014
— The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) today released the following statement regarding a recent report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4):

While the PHC4 report contains some interesting data about Pennsylvania ASCs, it falls short of presenting an accurate profile of the real-life operating value that ASCs provide to their patients and the state of Pennsylvania. In addition, as the authors of the report point out, the data must be considered carefully before any conclusions can be drawn.

ASCs—by design—are a convenient, personalized, lower-priced alternative to hospital outpatient departments. For a fuller picture of the many ways they serve their patients and communities, it is important to consider the following:

  • In 2012, Medicare saved more than $39 million because of the program’s beneficiaries in Pennsylvania who elected to have their cataract surgery performed in an ASC;

  • On just 2,900 arthroscopic knee and shoulder surgeries performed in Pennsylvania ASCs, Medicare saved more than $2.6 million;

  • Pennsylvania patients saved $5.8 million on colonoscopies because they were performed in ASCs;

  • Nationally, these savings translate into $2.6 billion per year in savings for Medicare and its beneficiaries;

  • The ASC community is committed to quality, and in the first full year of Medicare’s national ASC Quality Reporting Program, 98.8% of Pennsylvania ASCs successfully met the program’s reporting requirements;

  • Many ASCs are small businesses that provide jobs in their local communities and pay federal, state and local taxes;

  • Two-thirds of ASCs nationwide provide free or reduced cost care for patients and receive no financial incentives for providing that care;

  • Finally, while some of the financial data the report contains references ASC margins, it is important to recognize, as the report indicates, that those numbers do not account for two important factors that would reduce those margins significantly: taxes paid and disbursements to physicians, which they receive instead of a salary.

Because of the high quality, lower cost care that ASCs provide, they continue to gain popularity among patients. As the fight to contain health care costs continues, ASCs represent a substantial value and a model of success.


About ASCs: ASCs are an integral part of the health care system, providing critical access to surgical and diagnostic care, including preventive services. As essential Medicare providers of surgical and cancer screening services, ASCs perform more than 40 percent of Medicare colonoscopies.

About the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA): ASCA is working to raise awareness of the important role that ASCs play in the US health care system and the high-quality, cost-effective care that ASCs provide. For more about ASCA, go to