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What is an ASC?
What is an ASC?

August 24, 2017

Ambulatory Surgery Centers- also known as ASCs- are healthcare facilities focused on providing same-day surgical care. These centers are freestanding and may be owned by physicians or a joint venture partnership between physicians and a local hospital.  Since 1970, ASCs have shown an extraordinary ability to improve quality and customer satisfaction while consistently reducing costs.

Motivated by their effort to provide convenient, cost-effective surgical services, Dr. Walls Reed and Dr. John Ford opened the first free-standing ambulatory surgery center in 1970.  Five surgeons performed procedures on the first day, with four of the procedures requiring general anesthesia.

Each year, physicians perform more than 23 million procedures in ASCs. Common procedures include:

  • Cataract Surgery
  • GI Endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Spinal Injections
  • Cystoscopy
  • Lithotripsy
  • Circumcision
  • Post Cataract Laser Surgery
  • Knee Arthroscopy/Meniscectomy
  • Carpal Tunnel Release
  • ACL Reconstruction
  • Rotator Cuff Repair

Typical procedures performed in an ASC setting are less complex than those in a hospital setting. However, procedures such as hysterectomies, total joint replacements, and spine surgeries are becoming more common in the ASC with great success.

ASCs provide only elective procedures.  Patients first see their primary or surgical provider and select surgery as the best treatment option for their condition.

Today there are approximately 5,500 ASCs across the United States. ASCs are highly regulated through state licensure, Medicare certification, and accreditation. They are committed to efficient quality care, convenience, and patient satisfaction. Patients indicate high patient satisfaction rates at ASCs because of lower costs, high-quality of care, ease of scheduling and greater personal attention to detail.


Practice Partners in Healthcare, Inc. (“PPH”) is a developer, manager and minority equity share holder in Ambulatory Surgery Centers. Learn more about us at practicepartners.org.

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