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Report: Numbers of ambulatory surgery centers increase, margins rise slightly

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Statewide, the number of ambulatory surgery centers grew by 10 to 281 in 2012, and their average operating margins grew from 24.94 percent to 25.83 percent, according to the annual Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council report.

An ASC is a facility licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health that provides specialty or multispecialty surgical care to patients who do not require overnight hospitalization, but require medical supervision following a procedure. Most Pennsylvania ASCs are for-profit, so the reported margins are often before owner compensation and income tax expenses are paid.

In the 12-county region that includes the Business Journal’s coverage area, one ASC opened and two closed, for a total of 48 facilities in the area. That number has doubled since 2003. The average operating margin for the region was 28.81 percent.

The report said that statewide, the number of procedures at ASCs increased 0.7 percent last year, and there were 1.1 million outpatient visits. Commercial health insurance plans covered 51.4 percent of outpatient procedures at ASCs during the year.

According to PHC4, the rate of ASC growth in 2012 was slower than it was in the last decade, and margins have increased only marginally over the past four fiscal years.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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