Ambulatory Surgery - News Release

Harrisburg, PA - April 10, 1998 - The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council today released a new report that, for the first time in Pennsylvania, provides an initial look into health care delivered in the outpatient setting. Ambulatory Surgery in Pennsylvania is an overview of selected ambulatory procedures collected by the Council, and then compared to like inpatient procedures. The data in the report, primarily utilization data submitted by acute care hospitals and freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities, are aggregated on a regional and statewide basis and are not facility-specific. The data are from January 1, 1996 through March 31, 1996 only.

"This is a small but important first step," said Clifford L. Jones, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health care Cost Containment Council. "Public information about the shift from inpatient to outpatient care is essential to understanding how the dramatic changes in our health care system are affecting the cost and quality of care. Outpatient information hasn't been available before in Pennsylvania; from now on it will be."

The focus of the report is a comparison of like procedures performed in both the ambulatory and inpatient settings. It includes information from inpatient hospital facilities with outpatient services as well as freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities for discharges in first quarter 1996. Data included are the collected ambulatory surgical procedures mandated by the Council under state law. The ambulatory principal procedure code matches the principal procedure code for the inpatient data included in the report.

There are limitations to this report. First, this is a beginning step, not the end of the journey. The report includes only one quarter of data and as such can only be seen as a limited snapshot. As the Council produces additional reports of this kind, the information will become more comprehensive and more meaningful over time.

It is important to note that this report does not cover all outpatient procedures or treatments; it only contains the ambulatory and diagnostic procedures that the Council currently collects under its regulations. The report's methodology matches these codes to the same inpatient procedures. Therefore this report does not reflect all outpatient nor inpatient services nor does it capture other procedures performed during the patients' hospital stay.

The Council wishes to acknowledge the cooperation of the Pennsylvania hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers that submitted data for this report. (A listing of facilities that submitted data and those that did not is included in the report.) As the Council expands its base of information, Pennsylvania will be positioned to more fully understand the changing nature of the health care delivery system.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council is an independent state agency charged with providing the public with information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care services in Pennsylvania.