At first glance, the difference between the two seems obvious. But there are many benefits to seeking an outpatient option if surgery is on the table (pun intended). Not every procedure can be done on an outpatient basis but ask your primary care team if Pacific Surgical Center’s many options are right for you. It could minimize risk and save time, stress, and money.
At PSC, they offer outpatient orthopedic, urology, gastroenterology, podiatry, and general surgeries. These specialties are performed by skilled doctors using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques. Even pre- and post-surgical lab work and visits are often performed under the same roof which reduces timely follow-up visits.
Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that “With improved technology and advances in anesthesia and pain control, many less invasive surgical procedures are now being performed on an outpatient, or ambulatory, basis. Common procedures that are now routinely performed on an outpatient basis include tonsillectomies, hernia repairs, gallbladder removals, some cosmetic surgeries, and cataract surgeries. Given the millions of procedures performed every year, complications from outpatient procedures are relatively uncommon.”
Recent statistics show that “More than half of elective surgery procedures in the United States are currently performed as outpatient surgeries. Health experts expect this amount will increase over the next decade.” They believe this growth is fueled by “improved surgical instruments, less invasive surgical techniques, [and] a team approach in preparing a person for surgery and home recovery.” Overall, growth is expected to go from 129 million procedures annually to 144 million by 2023.
Another huge factor behind the growth of outpatient surgery is the cost. In one study, surgery involving an overnight hospital stay was 350% more expensive than its outpatient counterpart. If the COVID years have taught us anything it’s to expect the unexpected and save those pennies where you can. At PSC, their transparency pricing model means you’ll always know what to expect and the cash cost is often less than billing your insurance company.
Then there is the convenience. Knowing you’ll be home later the same day means simplified planning and a more peaceful, familiar recovery. Stress levels decrease and scheduling delays are minimized. But don’t forget that you still need a friend or relative to wait throughout your operation and drive you home afterward and someone must stay with you for the first 24 hours as a precaution.
At the end of the day, the decision to choose inpatient versus outpatient should be a team effort. Present your primary care provider with a complete medical and medication history, list of questions and concerns, and ask if PSC is a good fit for your needs. You can even sit down with one of PSC’s financial team members to discuss the details.
The discussion is especially important if you’re a Medicare patient. Says one source “For years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services classified 1,740 surgeries and other services so risky for older adults that Medicare would pay for them only when they were admitted to the hospital as inpatients. Under the new rule, the agency is beginning to phase out that requirement and, on Jan. 1, 266 shoulder, spine, and other musculoskeletal surgeries were crossed off what’s called the ‘inpatient-only list.’ By the end of 2023, the list—which includes a variety of complicated procedures including brain and heart operations—is scheduled to be gone.”
But until that’s resolved, you don’t want to wake up to sticker shock in the shape of an expensive, unexpected bill that isn’t covered. For Medicare members, the rules are changing but it’s safer—and potentially cheaper—to check in advance. This is because “while removing the surgeries from the inpatient-only list, the government did not approve them to be performed anywhere else. So patients will still have to get care at hospitals. But because the procedures have been reclassified, patients who have them in the hospital don’t have to be considered admitted patients. Instead, they can receive services on an outpatient basis.”
These days we’re blessed with two very important things: information and choice. We can research, ask questions, and be part of any discussion that concerns and impacts our health. Uncertainty and stress can be debilitating and may actually hinder healing. If you’re faced with surgery, give PSC a call at 360.442.7900 to talk through your options. They’ll work with you, your doctor, and their expert team to find the best solution for your body, mind, spirit, and wallet…whatever it takes to get you back on your feet again.