Medtechs Eye Key Role of ASCs in Return of Elective Care

The flight of joint replacements and other lucrative procedures from acute care hospitals to ambulatory surgery centers was happening before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the crisis may prove to accelerate the trend. “That shift was underway, but not very quickly: things never are in healthcare,” said Tim van Biesen, head of Bain & Company’s global healthcare practice. Some 5,700 ASCs in the U.S. carried out 23 million procedures in 2018, according to data cited by Bain last fall. The year prior, ASCs reportedly carried out more than half of all outpatient surgeries, versus having 32% share 15 years ago.​ The specialized, lower-cost centers have been an apple of private equity’s eye, and have allowed more business to be taken away from acute care hospitals in recent years as CMS has moved additional procedures off of its inpatient-only list. In the context of COVID-19, with many ASCs able to work through elective procedures sooner or at greater capacity than their hospital counterparts, the centers are all the more critical to the financial recovery of many medtechs and health systems alike.

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