Ambulatory Surgery - About the Council

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council is an independent state agency responsible for addressing the cost and quality of health care in Pennsylvania. The Council promotes health care competition through the collection, analysis, and public distribution of cost and quality health care information.

Since its inception the Council has pursued this mission primarily through the release of hospital inpatient data. In fact, Pennsylvania has been a pioneer in this effort. As it has grown, the Council has expanded its program beyond a focus solely on hospital data. In 1992, the Consumer Guide to Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery was published, which contained the first physician-specific information. In 1994, the Council published a report about major organ transplants, which, for the first time, contained data about insurers.

In the fall of 1995, the Council held a series of strategic planning sessions in order to discuss future directions. Out of those sessions came a desire to produce information that could help purchasers, providers, policy-makers and the public better understand the dramatically changing nature of the health care delivery system. There was recognition that focusing on the inpatient hospital admission was not comprehensive enough. Attention needed to be paid to the impact of the payor and the health plan on the cost and quality of care. A second area of importance is the outpatient setting.

This report, Ambulatory Surgery in Pennsylvania, is our first, limited attempt which will set the stage for an ongoing analysis over time of the impact of the outpatient setting on the cost, utilization and quality of health care.