September 29, 2015
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Outpatient ambulatory centers can reduce costs and maintain quality

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NEW ORLEANS – An outpatient ambulatory center can reduce surgical costs by 30% to 70% while sustaining similar patient satisfaction scores as hospital operating rooms, a speaker said here.

Domagoj Coric, MD, stated his ambulatory surgical center completes about 1,200 spine procedures a year, including more than 1,000 anterior cervical discectomies and fusion procedures (ACDF).

“What effect does this have on health care and on the patients? Is it safe? Absolutely it is safe. We looked at the first 1,000 cases we ever completed. Our patients are observed for 4 hours, and it is a true same-day surgery. They go home the same day. Eight patients were transferred to the hospital. That is less than a 1% transfer rate, and we had less than .5% reoperation rate and no mortality,” Coric said at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting.

Costs decrease significantly and patient satisfaction remains the same in an outpatient ambulatory center, he said. For example, in terms of a lumbar discectomy procedure, patients reported the same Oswestry Disability Index and EuroQol scores in the ambulatory center when compared with the main operating room, Coric said.

“The bottom line is, there have been unsustainable increases in health care costs and this has resulted in pressure to improve quality and the cost of health care delivery. The question is, can it be done? Can you maintain and improve quality at the same time as you decrease costs? I think in the laboratory of our surgery center we have been able to deliver significant cost advantages without compromising surgical quality and safety,” he said. – by Robert Linnehan

Reference: Coric D. Paper: Healthcare Cost Containment Strategies: Effects on Patient Service and Surgical Outcomes. Presented at: Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting; Sept. 26-30, 2015; New Orleans.

Disclosure: Coric reports owning an ambulatory surgical center.