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Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) and Office Based Labs (OBLs) – An Evolution in Health Care

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In recent years, patients and physicians have sought alternatives to traditional care and treatment found in cold, sterile hospital settings. Patients are looking for care closer to home in comfortable, patient-friendly environments. Physicians are seeking a higher level of autonomy over the entire medical procedure. We then add to this mix continuous innovation and improvements in methods for anesthetizing and performing minimally invasive procedures. As a result, the outpatient market has experienced rapid growth, which includes Office Based Labs and Ambulatory Surgical Centers. Both allow patients to go home within hours of a procedure rather than the typically longer stays in hospital settings.

Office Based Labs (OBLs), also known as office interventional suites (OIS), use new technologies to cost-effectively treat certain maladies on an outpatient basis. According to the OEI Society, these are facilities “where the health professional routinely provides health examinations, diagnosis, and treatment of illness or injury on an ambulatory basis.” Typically elective, non-emergent procedures with a low risk of complications are performed in OBLs. This includes most endovascular procedures, diagnostic heart catheterizations and peripheral angiograms/interventions. OBLs may include a variety of clinical outpatient models including those with singular or multidisciplinary focus, or hybrids that combine an OBL with an ASC. Currently, there are between 500 – 600 OBL centers in the US, located primarily in the southeast and in California.

Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) are highly regulated, modern health care facilities focused on providing outpatient surgical care, including preventive and diagnostic procedures. They offer slightly more complex therapies than OBLs, although less complex than those performed in hospitals. Examples of procedures performed in an ASC include: hemodialysis thrombectomy; AVF creation;  iliac artery intervention; venous stents; ports; and device cases such as pacemaker and defibrillator implantations. ASCs provide a convenient alternative to hospital-based procedures, and have actually transformed the healthcare experience for millions. In addition, ASCs have a strong performance history of quality care, exceptional patient outcomes, all while saving billions of dollars in health costs each year.

A significant advantage for physicians in OBLs and ASCs over hospital outpatient settings is reimbursement. The cost of most procedures is vastly reduced when performed in OBLs and ASC, resulting in higher available reimbursement for physicians.

Foster Crown is a boutique physician recruitment firm that has been leading the charge on recruitment for ASC/OBL development in recent years. Foster Crown CEO, Steve May, believes these facilities are the future of modern healthcare. To learn more about how we work with and place top tier candidates, call us at 262.646.2860. Please be sure to like us on Facebook.