Skokie, Ill. [April 5, 2010] —Decline in the use of outpatient facilities seems to be ebbing somewhat, a new survey reports, with a larger percentage of ambulatory health care centers reporting an increase in demand from less than a year ago. However, centers that offer subsidized care were more likely to report an increase. Centers overall are reporting that their patients are having a hard time meeting their co-pays or deductibles, and the demand for self-pay and elective procedures, such as cosmetic surgery, continues to decline. The results are based on two separate surveys conducted by the AAAHC Institute for Quality Improvement (AAAHC Institute), a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC/Accreditation Association). In less than a year – the time period between the study conducted in February-March 2009 and the new study, conducted in October-December 2009 – more outpatient organizations reported an increase in demand (20 percent vs. 12 percent) and fewer reported a decline (48 percent vs. 60 percent). The earlier AAAHC Institute study involved 985 ambulatory health care organizations*and 735* participated in the later study.
“Centers that offer subsidized services, such as student health services, were more likely to report an increase in demand than other types of organizations,” said Naomi Kuznets, PhD.