Orthopedic procedures are skyrocketing at ASCs. Here's why.

Orthopedics is among the most popular specialties for ASCs, with many patients turning to the facilities for outpatient procedures.

Meanwhile, the number of orthopedic procedures in outpatient settings like ASCs continues to grow, reaching 33 times higher than the volume of inpatient procedures, according to the American Joint Replacement Registry's 2023 annual report.

"The past decade has shown us that orthopedic and spine surgery (in the properly indicated patient) can be performed in a safer, more efficient and cost-saving manner compared to the traditional large hospital setting," Philip Louie, MD, a spine surgeon and medical director of research and academics at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health's Center for Neurosciences and Spine in Seattle, said on the specialty growth. 

There are a variety of factors driving this growth of orthopedics in ASCs, including the amount of revenue the specialty brings in, which is more than any other specialty across the country, according to VMG Health's "Multi-Specialty ASC Benchmarking Study" for 2022.

The same study also found that orthopedic cases provide the highest reimbursement to ASCs.

Meanwhile, CMS included five additional orthopedic codes in its final rules for the 2024 Physician Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System in November, including total shoulder arthroscopy.

"As an orthopedic CEO and practicing surgeon, I've witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of outpatient hip and knee arthroplasty on our surgery centers," David Jevsevar, MD, CEO of OrthoVirginia, told Becker's in September. "These procedures significantly enhance our center's efficiency, allowing us to treat more patients without the need for extended hospital stays. This not only streamlines our operations but also translates to a notable reduction in overhead costs associated with prolonged inpatient care."

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