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Number Of Outpatient Surgical Centers In Pennsylvania Increases

Armen Hareyan's picture

Outpatient Surgical Centers

The number of outpatient surgical centers in Pennsylvania increasedfrom 48 a decade ago to 232 in fiscal year 2006, state data show -- atrend some hospitals say is hurting their financial health, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. According to a report released on Friday by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council,margins at surgical centers increased by 9.4 percentage points betweenFYs 2001 and 2004 and leveled off during FY 2006 at 21%.

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The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvaniaon Thursday issued a statement saying outpatient surgical centers --which perform surgeries that do not require overnight hospitalization,such as colonoscopies, cataract repairs and gastrointestinalendoscopies -- siphon off on healthiest, best-insured patients, makingit more difficult for hospitals to make money. Association Presidentand CEO Carolyn Scanlan said, "Data indicates that these facilitiestypically do not take those patients who cannot pay, treat far fewerMedicaid patients than do acute care hospitals and do not treatpatients with complex conditions," adding, "The result is that ourcommunity hospitals ... treat the sickest and most needy patients."

Accordingto the Cost Containment Council report, 2.95% of Pennsylvaniaoutpatient surgery centers' net patient revenue came from Medicaid,compared to a June report that found 11% of hospital patient revenuecame from Medicaid (Burling, Philadelphia Inquirer,11/30). In addition, between 2000 and 2006, the percentage of allprocedures performed at outpatient centers increased by 10.2% to 27.5%,according to the council's report.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviewreports that physicians who own the centers say the facilities "arejust as modern ... and have similar infection and complication rates ashospitals" but "have little of the overhead hospitals carry, allowinglower procedure prices -- plus they are licensed and inspected by thesame regulatory bodies" (Stouffer, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 11/30).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HealthPolicy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The HenryJ. Kaiser Family Foundation.