Every August, individuals from the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) industry come together to celebrate National ASC Month. These celebrations are usually met with in-person facility tours and events that include local elected officials and afford ASCs the opportunity to educate key policy and decision makers about the wonderful work that they do. Though this National ASC Month may look a little different than it has in years past, it is still one of particular note. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the ASC industry. That means 50 years of surgical innovation, new and exciting technologies, an unwavering commitment to patient care, the expansion of surgical access opportunities, and an industry committed to the betterment of the communities it serves.
The first ever ASC was established in 1970 by two men named Wallace Reed, MD and John Ford, MD in Phoenix, AZ. Since then, the industry has grown more than we could ever have imagined. According to Becker’s ASC Review, there are approximately 6,000 ambulatory surgery centers currently operating across the country (Becker's ASC Review, 2020). These facilities span a variety of specialties and offer eligible patients a more convenient outpatient surgical experience outside of a hospital setting.
ASCs are regulated by state and federal government, which makes National ASC Month all the more important to get out in front of those elected officials and advocate for the industry that we serve. As we find ourselves navigating a pandemic that has put limitations on our social interactions, ASCA is still encouraging facilities to host virtual facility tours this month in an effort to educate members of Congress about the ASC community. They have even gone as far as to create a “Virtual Tour Kit” to prep ASCs with the necessary materials to find success in their virtual tours. The kit includes ASCA’s virtual facility tour guidebook, presentation templates, an informative flyer, email templates to invite your local legislators, and a set of frequently asked questions. For more information on hosting a virtual facility tour, visit ASCA’s grassroots advocacy page.
Surgical Information Systems would like to acknowledge the incredible work accomplished by the ASC industry over the past 50 years, and we look forward to what the next 50 years hold!