Ambulatory surgery centers, or ASCs, are free-standing outpatient care facilities offering same-day procedures without high risk of complication. Over the past decade, market growth has been fueled in large part by an increase in the number of surgeries, a general movement toward outpatient settings, and a particular shift of volume away from hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) toward ASCs.

In 2015, the ASC segment accounted for around 35% of surgeries, representing approximately 10% of surgical care revenue. On average, surgeries performed in ASCs cost 60% of what the same procedure would cost in the HOPD setting, as ASCs have lower overhead costs compared with hospitals and thus are reimbursed at a lower rate. The potential for ongoing cost reductions and increased efficiency points to further ASC growth, particularly as value-based care continues to gain traction.

UnitedHealthcare’s recently announced acquisition of Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA) represents the latest signal that the $30 billion ambulatory surgery center (ASC) segment is moving to the forefront of the rapidly evolving healthcare market. In this Executive Insights, L.E.K. Consulting looks at the various factors favoring further share gains for these value-oriented care facilities.

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