About Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs)


What is an ASC?

Ambulatory Surgery Centers—known as ASCs—are modern health care facilities focused on providing same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures.

ASCs have transformed the outpatient experience for millions of Americans by providing them with a more convenient alternative to hospital-based outpatient procedures—and done so with a strong track record of quality care and positive patient outcomes.


Learn more about ASCs

Learn more about the quality of care that ASCs provide.

Also see ASCs: A Positive Trend in Health Care to get a glimpse of the past, present and future of ASCs.


Cost-Effective Alternative

Ambulatory surgery is generally less expensive than hospital inpatient surgery. This is true for a number of reasons, including lower facility development costs, more efficient staffing, space utilization and a specialized operating environment focused on cost containment.

Managed Care

Meridian believes managed care enrollment will continue to increase and that managed care organizations will seek high-quality, cost-effective health care services for their enrollees.

Physician and Patient Preference

Meridian believes that most physicians prefer freestanding ASCs. Such centers enhance physicians’ productivity by providing them with greater scheduling flexibility, more consistent nurse staffing and faster turnaround time between cases, allowing physicians to perform more surgeries in a defined period of time. In contrast, hospitals generally serve a broader group of physicians, including those involved with emergency procedures that must be given priority over scheduled non-emergency procedures, resulting in postponed or delayed surgeries. Additionally, many physicians choose to perform surgery in an ASC because their patients prefer the simplified registration process and the less institutional atmosphere.

New Technology

New technology and advances in anesthesia, which have been increasingly accepted by physicians, have significantly expanded the types of surgical procedures that are being performed in ASCs. Lasers, enhanced endoscopic techniques and fiber optics have reduced the trauma and recovery time of many surgical procedures. Improved anesthesia has shortened recovery time by minimizing post-operative side effects such as nausea and drowsiness, thereby avoiding, in some cases, overnight hospitalization.


Extended Recovery

While states typically restrict the time period a patient may remain in an ASC after surgery, a number of states allow extended recovery stays of up to 23 hours. Longer recovery stays are being considered in some states. Extended recovery significantly increases the types of procedures that can be performed in ASCs.

For additional information visit the sites below:

Ambulatory Surgery Center Association
ASC Ambulatory Surgery Center Advocacy Committee