Why Surgeon Owners of Ambulatory Surgical Centers Do More Surgery Than Non-Owners

By Christine A. Yee

May 1, 2012 Related Topics: Ambulatory Surgery Centers

The last two decades have seen substantial growth in the use of ambulatory surgical centers (ASC) and the number of physicians who have ownership interests in these centers. In Florida, this study found that orthopedic surgeons who owned ASCs did between 52 percent and 111 percent more surgery than orthopedic surgeons who were not owners. 

To help policymakers and other stakeholders better understand the relationship between ASCs and surgeons, WCRI looked at several factors that contributed to owners doing more surgery, including financial incentives, previous surgery volume prior to ownership, and the ability to do more surgery in an ASC relative to a hospital.

The study examined 941 orthopedic surgeons—some of whom ultimately became owners of surgery centers—and compared the number of knee, shoulder, and wrist surgeries that each surgeon did before becoming an owner with the number performed after becoming an owner.   

SAMPLE OF MAJOR FINDINGS

  • Surgeons, regardless if an owner or not, were able to do more and did do more surgery at ASCs than at hospitals.
  • Surgeon owners of ASCs responded to financial incentives attendant to ownership by increasing the number of surgeries they performed, compared with their volumes prior to ownership.
  • Higher volume surgeons became owners and shifted most of their surgery to ASCs after becoming owners, potentially making the financial situation for hospitals difficult.
  • After becoming owners, surgeons began treating more patients covered by more generous insurance plans.

Why Surgeon Owners of Ambulatory Surgical Centers Do More Surgery Than Non-Owners. Christine A. Yee. May 2012. WC-12-17.

Copyright: WCRI

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