Number of PA ASCs keeps growing, but profits level off

Standard market economics have kicked in surprisingly late in Pennsylvania. After several years of hothouse growth, and corresponding increases in profits, margins at the state's ambulatory surgical centers are leveling off. According to a new report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, ASC margins have stayed at roughly 21 percent the past year, after growing 9.4 percent between fiscal 2001 and 2004. Meanwhile, the volume of diagnostic and surgical procedures performed at Pennsylvania grew 40.2 percent between fiscal 2000 and fiscal 2006, two-thirds of which were delivered by ASCs.

Even if growth is slowing for the ASCs, hospitals in the state (and elsewhere in the country) continue to blanch when they read these numbers. The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, for its part, issued a statement criticizing the ASCs, arguing that they're skimming off the highest-profit patients without having to take on the costly, complex ones or provide uncompensated care.

To get more data on the ASCs:
- read this piece in The Philadelphia Inquirer
- read the state's press release

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