Profits way up for PA surgical centers

Profits jumped an impressive 21 percent for Pennsylvania's outpatient surgical centers in 2005, according to data from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). Profits are up 9.5 percent since fiscal 2001, and 2 percent from 2004 to 2005, the state agency noted. These profits were driven in part by a large spike in volume of outpatient surgical and diagnostic procedures performed in the state, which climbed a whopping 34.5 percent last year. The state's 200-odd ASCs performed nearly 80 percent of those procedures. Not surprisingly, the number of ASCs has grown substantially in recent times, with 25 popping up from June 2005 to May 2006. A substantial minority (roughly 30 percent) of the state's ASCs are owned by hospitals and health systems, but many are owned by physicians, who profit from receiving both facility fees and procedure fees when they provide services in their own centers.

At this point, it's not clear yet whether the increase in ASC center starts is sustainable--in Pennsylvania or elsewhere in the U.S.--but it's unlikely to continue at this pace. After all, it's unlikely that any industry can continue to benefit from a 34 percent growth rate year over year.

Get the PHC4's current ASC data:
- read their report
- check out the PHC4's release