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Ambulatory service centers or ASCs are modern healthcare facilities specifically established to provide same-day surgical care to patients. According to https://edition.cnn.com, the BLS estimates the number of active ambulatory care centers in America as over 621,000 in 2019. While millions of Americans have benefited from a transformational outpatient experience with ASCs providing a more convenient alternative to conventional hospital outpatient procedures, patients still need to exercise care while choosing an ACS to benefit the maximum.
Some important questions to ask:
Is the ASC Certified and Accredited?
In addition to the mandatory license issued by the state, a high-quality ASC will generally have a Medicare certification to receive payments from Medicare. This certification ensures compliance with strict federal regulations on all aspects of the facility design, permitted procedures, and quality parameters. ASCs also need to have accreditation by one of three accreditation organizations to become a part of an insurance company network. These organizations are the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, and Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
What Is the Track Record of the ASC?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rates most of the ASCs in America using multiple quality parameters to establish their ability to deliver high-quality healthcare. These quality measures include factors like mortality rates, surgical complications, readmission rates, number of patients receiving incorrect treatment, patients receiving injuries, etc. Additionally, you can consider the rankings given by several news organizations and non-profits, though ASCs may not always feature in them. Apart from inquiring at these accreditation bodies, you can also ask your Florida insurance company for comparative data on ASC performance.
Whether the ASC is In the Insurance Company’s In-Network?
The doctors and healthcare facilities with which the insurance company has negotiated special rates for treatment are considered to be in their in-network. This means the patient gets the benefit of the lower rates as compared to receiving healthcare from an out-of-network provider. In case, you use an ACS that is out-of-network, you should be prepared to pay a hefty bill for the services charged over and above the typical rates negotiated by the insurance company.
What Happens in Case of An Emergency?
Even though most of the top-rated ASCs are sufficiently equipped to handle surgeries that they are permitted to undertake, the chance of an emergency cannot be ruled out. Find out what is the standard operating procedure followed by the ASC for handling complications. It can be a big confidence-booster to have a hospital nearby to which a patient in a critical condition can be transferred, if needed, in an emergency.
While information from multiple sources, including online reviews and complaint boards, can be very helpful in coming to a final decision regarding the ASC you prefer to have your surgery, it can be very useful to pay a visit personally to the facility you have shortlisted. You can either walk-in or schedule an appointment for a tour of the facility and see for yourself if the staff is confident and helpful and whether they conduct themselves professionally. Whether you are feeling at ease in the ASC can often be the deciding factor.