ASCs in 2021: A Year in Review

By: Jack Hawkins, Connor Green, and Colin Park, CPA/ABV, ASA

2021 has been an expansive year for the healthcare industry as it continued its rebound from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While the healthcare industry as a whole has seen a speedy recovery, the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) subindustry has seen an even more swift rebound to pre-COVID levels.

Along with expectations of an ongoing major, multi-site transaction in the ASC market in 2022, the ASC industry continued to consolidate throughout 2021. The ASC subindustry has seen recurring trends that started pre-pandemic: the shift of higher acuity procedures from the inpatient setting to the outpatient setting, increased Medicare reimbursement rates, consolidation of ASCs by management companies, and a push by hospitals to grow their ambulatory footprint with a particular focus on the outpatient setting.

COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery

For a detailed, macroeconomic analysis on the impact/recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare M&A, please see VMG Health’s Healthcare M&A Report.

In March of 2020, the world was impacted by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequently, 2021 was a hopeful year of rebuilding and recovering from the lasting effects brought on by the pandemic. ASC’s experienced a relatively quick recovery in 2020 with the hope that 2021 would reflect a full year of operations that mirrored pre-pandemic performance. Throughout 2021, additional variants of the original virus emerged presenting challenges for ASC’s. However, it appeared that ASCs learned from 2020 and were able to navigate the variants and continued to operate at a normal pace.

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