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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Prices Paid to Ambulatory Surgery Centers Have Remained Flat

The rapid growth in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) does not appear to have caused hospital outpatient departments to lower their prices, a new study by a Boston University School of Public Health researcher suggests.

Writing in the journal Health Affairs, Dr. Kathleen Carey, professor of health law, policy & management, found that for six common outpatient surgical procedures, overall prices paid to ASCs remained fairly steady during 2007–2012, while overall prices paid to hospital outpatient departments for the same procedures climbed sharply.

“This provides no evidence that ASCs are successfully pressuring hospital outpatient departments to lower their prices,” Dr. Carey said. In fact, “there is reason for concern about the substantial across-the-board increases in hospital outpatient department prices” for the services examined.

In addition, the study found, private insurers paid ASCs considerably more than Medicare paid them for the same procedures. Meanwhile, private insurers paid hospital outpatient departments more than Medicare paid for some procedures, but less than Medicare for others.

To read more about the study, go to: