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76% of Larger Hospitals Report Expanding Investments in ASCs

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   October 16, 2020

A new survey from Avanza Healthcare Strategies and Healthleaders found hospitals and health systems that plan to increase investments in ASCs grew 23% this past year.

A recent 2020 ASC Joint Venture Survey found that most hospitals and health systems plan to expand investments into ambulatory surgery centers (ASC).

The analysis, conducted by Avanza Healthcare Strategies and HealthLeaders, found a 23% increase among providers planning to increase investments in ASCs.

The research also found that 76% of larger hospitals reported an increase in their investment into ASCs.

The report is the third installment of an "annual survey of senior healthcare executives and clinical leaders," which surveyed nonprofit and for-profit hospitals and health systems across the U.S.

"ASCs continue to be the model for providing high-quality, low-cost surgical care, and many hospitals are converting their outpatient departments or migrating cases to ASCs. This was true before the pandemic reinforced the business case for every hospital having a freestanding ASC in its portfolio," Joan Dentler, CEO of Avanza, said in a statement.

According to the survey findings:

  • 75% of larger hospitals with 200 or more beds reported having more than one ASC. This is a 17% increase from 2018.
  • 58% of hospital and health systems reported operating their ASCs as physician joint ventures, a decrease from 2019. 42% reported that they operate their ASCs as a non-joint venture.
  • Outsourced ASC management decreased 7% from 2019 to 2020 from 23% to 16%.
  • 33% of hospitals reported allowing "employed physicians to invest in ASCs," the lowest percentage since 2017. 67% of hospitals allow employed physicians to invest in ASCs.

"Payer pressures and other market forces have softened hospitals' historically defensive posture toward ASCs, paving the way for overall growth, lower operating costs and heightened patient satisfaction," Dentler added.

The survey also found why hospitals and health systems want to own or affiliate with ASCs:

  • 79% want to "increase outpatient surgical capacity"
  • 45% want to "respond to consumer-driven trends"
  • 39% want to "enhance physician relationships"
  • 37% want to "reduce costs"
  • 34% want to "prevent physicians from moving cases from hospital or health system"
  • 26% want to "increase profit margins"
  • 18% want to "enter new markets"
  • 16% want to "recruit surgeons"

Melanie Blackman is the strategy editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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