Frequently Asked Questions

How long will I be in the center after my procedure (recovery period)?

Recovery periods vary from person to person and from procedure to procedure due to length of each surgery. Patients may not be discharged until they have stable vital signs, no unusual bleeding, and are able to keep liquids down.

May my family accompany me?

Your family may stay with you, if you choose, until it is time to go to surgery. At that time, we ask that family members remain in the waiting room until the procedure is complete. When you awaken in the recovery room, you may once again choose to have your family join you. A parents or guardian will be required to remain at the Center for the entire time of any minor child’s procedure.

What happens behind the scenes of my procedure?

There are many people behind the scenes that perform to an exemplary level allowing your time at our center to be special. There are instrument technicians processing equipment, OR technicians safety-checking, preparing and assisting in your case and office staff that collect information. Prior to your procedure, your insurance benefits are verified by office staff. Your charts are reviewed by nurses and anesthesia and your case is prepared by OR technicians. The entire team at Bellingham Ambulatory Surgery Center works toward the same goal: we want to exceed your expectations.

Who should I call if I have questions before or after my surgery?

Questions related to surgery itself or preparation should be directed to Bellingham Ambulatory Surgery Center (BASC) at (360) 671-6933. Specific questions related to your specific case or problems afterward should be directed to the surgeon’s office. In the case of an emergency call the physician office for the on-call physician or report directly to the emergency room. You are always welcome to call the center during regular business hours for direction in a non-emergent situation.

Why do I have to come to the center 1 hour before my procedure?

We require an extra hour for several reasons. You will be re-assessed by the Pre-op nurse and the person giving you anesthesia, and/or the nurse responsible for you during surgery, to assure you are still able to safely have outpatient surgery. Some surgeries require pre-operative time to give preparatory medications, to remove/shave hair, or complete a specialty prep of the surgery site. An hour also gives us the ability to remedy most last minute issues (high blood pressure, low blood sugar, etc.) in time to proceed with your surgery.

Why do I have to pay my deductible and co-insurance at the time of registration?

The policy of this center, as with many health care facilities across the nation is that patients pay their portion of co-insurance and any remaining deductible at the time of the procedure. This helps to keep the collection prices down, thus the cost of doing business at a minimum. Ambulatory surgery centers are paid 46% less than hospitals, on average for procedures, and thus, efficiency of care including collections, is extremely important.

Why is the charge on the EOB (Explanation of Benefits/Invoice) so high?

Historically, insurances that are contracted pay at a contracted rate; some pay a percentage of charge and self-pay patients pay are at a minimum percentage of charge. The total amount is artificially elevated because it is the “norm” that no one pays. Insurances, third-party payers, Medicare and self-pay patients all pay at a negotiated rate below 100% of the charge. Traditionally, all payers/insurances and self-pay patients pay less to an ambulatory surgery center than they pay to hospitals.

Why should I choose an ASC over a hospital?

ASCs (Ambulatory Surgery Centers), including Bellingham Ambulatory Surgery Center, are known for their efficiency of care, quality outcomes and low cost of care in comparison to their hospital competition. Ambulatory surgery is our specialty and thus, we have established a reputation for excellence in what we do. We aim to “exceed the expectations” of you, our customer. According to our satisfaction surveys over 99% of our patients would recommend BASC to someone else or use it again themselves.

Will I owe more after the procedure than what I paid at the time of registration?

Sometimes patients do owe more after the procedure because the physician performed more than was anticipated at the time of registration and/or there were implants and supplies used that were unknown at the time of registration.