I have known for a while about the Surgery Center Network, a web site that connects self-pay patients (as well as some third-party payers such as employers and even a couple of insurance companies) with ambulatory surgical centers, which are basically small, specialized surgical facilities. The reason I’ve held off on writing about them has been that the web site seemed to still be in its ‘beta’ stage, with a lot of functionality still undone. Without a fully or at least mostly functioning site, I didn’t think it was worth writing it up.
I’m pleased to say that the Surgery Center Network web site now is up and running well enough that it should be easy enough for anyone wanting to find inexpensive surgical options.
First, a word about ambulatory surgical centers. These facilities have been around for more than four decades, and are a well-established part of the health care world. The Ambulatory Surgical Center Association (ASCA) describes them as follows:
Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are health care facilities that offer patients the convenience of having surgeries and procedures performed safely outside the hospital setting…
Forty years ago, virtually all surgery was performed in hospitals. Waits of weeks or months for an appointment were not uncommon, and patients typically spent several days in the hospital and several weeks out of work in recovery. In many countries, surgery is still performed this way, but not in the US… The first facility was opened in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1970 by two physicians who saw an opportunity to establish a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to inpatient hospital care for surgical services. Faced with frustrations like scheduling delays, limited operating room availability, slow operating room turnover times, and challenges in obtaining new equipment due to hospital budgets and policies, physicians were looking for a better way―and developed it in ASCs. Continue reading