As trends in healthcare delivery change throughout the country, more outpatient procedures are being performed in free-standing ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). The benefits of having an operation away from the confines of a traditional hospital include generally lower costs for patients and greater accessibility to care for many people. Additionally, board-certified spine physicians who perform many of the same types of procedures every day are able to perfect their skills and provide premium care. Any patient who is considering undergoing a procedure at a surgery center should take into consideration a few characteristics that are the hallmarks of a quality facility.
Centers that are approved by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) are kept to strict standards of quality and are subject to regularly scheduled reviews of their records, protocols, and physical structures. Additionally, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) requires its members to report their compliance of regulations including staff immunizations and operational procedures.
Like hospitals and other health care centers, ASCs accept traditional health insurance. Not all facilities are certified to take cases that will be covered by Medicare, and its acceptance should be verified before scheduling surgery. It is also helpful to know how the remainder of the bill can be paid after insurance payments have been applied. Many places offer a discount if the patient portion is paid up front, and some offer payment plans with little or no interest.
People who undergo procedures at ASCs expect to have their back or neck surgeries and leave for home after a short recovery period of a couple to a few hours. It is important to know what protocols are in place for patients who stray from the expected course of recovery and who need additional care. Some places may have extended hours for individuals who are not ready to go home at the prescribed time, and other facilities may require patients to be transferred to a traditional hospital. People should also be given comprehensive instructions post-operatively that include directions on wound care, medications, and who to call and where to go in case of emergency.
For more information on spine surgery or to find out what sets The Spine Institute in Beverly Hills apart, please give us a call at (310) 828-7757. We are a leader in new spine technologies, including minimally invasive spine treatments and spinal fusion procedures.