In March of 2010, we the independent gastroenterologists of Gastonia, Dr. Sam Drake, Dr. Bill Watkins, Dr. Austin Osemeka, and Dr. Neville Forbes decided to join together to bring Gaston County the highest quality, cost-effective patient care for GI procedures.
Our collective goal was simple… develop a brand new, state-of-the-art endoscopic surgery center known as Greater Gaston Endoscopy Center. This Center will provide the highest quality care in the most cost-effective, comfortable environment for our patients. We are a consortium of independent, community based physicians that care about our patients, are compassionate to your needs, and aspire to help increase community awareness of the prevention and treatment of colon cancer. The national screening colonoscopy compliance rate of patients over the age of 50, is less than 50%. Our goal is to provide education, reach out to our community to increase preventive screenings, and in turn decrease the incidence of colon cancer in Gaston County.
Ambulatory surgery centers (ASC’s) provide the highest quality care while being the most cost-effective way for patients to receive GI-related services. Many patients (you may be one of them) have been inconvenienced by having to leave Gaston County to receive affordable GI services. By operating in an ASC instead of a hospital, we gain the opportunity to have more direct control over our procedures. In this setting, we are able to schedule procedures more conveniently, assemble teams of specially-trained and highly skilled staff, ensure our equipment and supplies being used are best suited to our techniques, and design the facilities tailored to our specialty.
The psychological and social advantages of outpatient procedures have been documented and are considerable. Patient satisfaction is very important in an ASC and these satisfaction ratings are very high compared to large hospital systems. One contributing factor to higher patient satisfaction in the outpatient setting is the efficiency, with the average patient spending approximately 1.5 to 2 hours from the time of admission to discharge for their procedure. This is in stark contrast to the time spent in a large hospital outpatient department, for this same procedure. We know our patients are busy and we want to provide them with safe, quality care close to home, without interfering with their hectic schedules.
Another benefit of an ASC is the distinct cost advantage. Historically, ASCs operate much more cost-effectively compared to larger, financially encumbered facilities. This is recognized by Medicare in their reimbursement structure. On average, the Medicare program and its beneficiaries share in more than $2.5 billion in savings each year because the program pays significantly less and patients’ coinsurance is less for procedures performed in ASCs compared to the rates paid to Hospital Outpatient Dept for the same procedures. Medicaid and other insurers also benefit from lower prices for services performed in the ASC setting.
Cost containment is the key to reducing overall healthcare dollars. We know and understand the financial constraints that are put on many of us today. Providing the same high quality care as in the hospital, in a cost-effective outpatient environment will not only benefit our patients financially, but will benefit our healthcare system in general.
Our community can now reap the benefits!
The good news is that in October of 2010 the Certificate of Need application for Greater Gaston Center was submitted to the state of North Carolina department of public health for processing and approval. In January of 2011, Greater Gaston Center was conditionally awarded approval for the development of this new state-of- the- art facility. Greater Gaston Endoscopy Center has now been licensed by the State of NC and opened their doors to patients on February 10, 2015. Moving through the inspection process, the facility was granted an accreditation by the Joint Commission on March 2, 2015.
We believe that the residents of Gaston County deserve this center and that it is the best, most affordable option for GI care in our community. We appreciate your support and hope you will utilize our services and tell your family and friends …”Screening saves lives”.
Facts on ASC Quality:
ASCs are an integral component of the US healthcare delivery system with 40% of surgeries currently performed in an ASC..
ASCs are committed to transparency as they have independently developed quality measures and initiated reporting of aggregate quality data.
ASCs offer the government enormous savings opportunities: 56% savings to beneficiaries and 41% savings to Medicare. Shifting of 50% of eligible outpatient procedures from hospitals to ASCs would save Medicare an additional $2.5 billion per year.
Government and beneficiary savings on ASC services as compared to the hospital has never been greater as more patients are served in the lower-cost ASC setting. ASCs are approaching a “tipping point” where Medicare rates are unsustainable and services will be forced to return to the Hospital outpatient department, where the rate is 72% higher.