About ASCs

What is an ASC?

Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) are single specialty or multi-specialty healthcare facilities that perform same-day outpatient surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures. Since the concept of surgery centers was first developed in the early 1970s, ASCs have become integral to our nation's healthcare system for providing cost-effective care.

ASCs treat only patients who have already seen a health care provider and selected surgery as the appropriate treatment for their condition. Patients looking for primary or urgent care should contact their primary care provider.

Do many patients utilize ASCs?

There are approximately 5,300 ASCs in the United States, and in some states, the number of ASCs exceeds the number of hospitals. Surgery centers now perform around 23 million surgeries annually, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approves new procedures for the ASC setting every year.

What quality controls exist for ASCs?

Studies have shown that the quality of care delivered at ASCs is equal to or better than comparable hospital care. Of the more than 70 Ambulatory Surgery Centers in Wisconsin, 100% of those that are Medicare-certified meet or exceed quality reporting requirements set for a new national quality reporting program introduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Reporting measures include occurrences of wrong site, side, patient, procedure or implant surgeries; patient burns; patient falls; and hospital transfers.

A number of ambulatory surgery centers in Wisconsin also have attained national voluntary accreditation by organizations such as The Joint Commission (JCAHO) or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). These ASCs go through the accreditation survey process to demonstrate their commitment to nationally recognized high standards of health care.

Are there cost savings with using ASCs?

Surgery centers save the Medicare system an estimated $2.3 billion annually by offering a safe, high quality, low cost alternative to hospital-based surgery. Many times, patients will experience that both the cost of a procedure and the patient co-pay charge are lower than what would be charged for a hospital-based surgical procedure.

Are ASC patients satisfied overall?

ASCs have rated extremely well in patient satisfaction scores, in part because of the efficiency of operations. The settings are often convenient, close to home, and provide patient-centered care in a warm environment.


Ambulatory surgery centers may attain national voluntary accreditation through The Joint Commission or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). Participation in an accreditation survey process demonstrates the surgery center’s commitment to nationally recognized high standards of health care, and offers a competitive edge in the marketplace. Over half of the ASCs in Wisconsin have attained accreditation.

The Joint Commission is considered the premier accrediting body in the nation. By adopting leading practices and meeting Joint Commission standards, ASCs are focused on better patient outcomes, risk reduction and improved business processes. ASCs that have gone through JCAHO accreditation often achieve enhanced payer recognition, are able to attract quality employees, and successfully build their customer base by strengthening consumer confidence.

The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) serves as an advocate for the provision of high quality health care through the development of nationally recognized Standards. ASCs that have gone through AAAHC accreditation are seen by third party payers, medical organizations, liability insurance companies, state and federal agencies and the public as having an added symbol of quality.

Accreditation by either organization better equips surgery centers to maintain quality standards and procedures that ultimately improve the quality of care they provide.

Association of Wisconsin Surgery Centers
563 Carter Court, Suite B Kimberly WI 54136
920-560-5627 I WISCA@badgerbay.co

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