According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), outpatient surgeries increased from 20.8 million visits in 1996 to 34.7 million visits in 2006, and now account for approximately two-thirds of all surgeries. Data was collected from approximately 150 hospitals and 300 freestanding surgery centers.

Among other things, the report also found:  

    • Female patients had significantly more ambulatory surgery visits (20 million) than males (14.7 million);
    • The procedures performed most often during outpatient surgery visits included endoscopies of the large intestine (5.8 million) and small intestine (3.5 million), and extraction of lens for cataract surgery (3.1 million);
    • The leading diagnosis for outpatient surgery visits was cataract, with 3 million visits, followed by benign tumor (neoplasm) with 2 million visits, and malignant tumor with 1.2 million visits; and
    • More than half of outpatient surgery visits (53 percent) were paid for by private insurance.

The report underscores the importance of providers such as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) in providing primary care to many Americans. As surgical care continues to shift from traditional hospitals to ASCs, coverage and reimbursement issues will become increasingly contentious as payment systems attempt to adjust to the new clinical realities. You can read the full report here.