The slumping economy is affecting the demand for ambulatory healthcare services as 61% of the practices participating in a recent survey reported decreased patient volume in the past 12 monthswith 11% reporting a decrease of 20% or greater.
Of the 985 organizations participating in the online survey conducted by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Cares Institute for Quality Improvement, 605 reported a decline in patient volume that ranged between 20% and less than 5%; with almost 27% (257) reporting no change in volume and 12% (121) reporting an increase.
The volume for elective procedures was decreasing for 57% of respondents, while 76% reported the economy was having a negative impact on their patients ability to pay their copay or deductible. But only 9% of respondents reported lowering their prices because of the economy.
More than two-thirds of the organizations (76%) participating were ambulatory surgical centers, while most of the rest were either office-based surgical practices (9%) or student health service facilities (8%). The most common specialties were gastroenterology, 338; ophthalmology, 312; and orthopedics, 306.