Ambulatory Surgical Centers remain key driver of healthcare real estate demand in Washington DC

February 18, 2019
  • Ambulatory outpatient surgical centers (ASCs) have been growing exponentially nationwide. Why? Until the early 1980s, nearly all surgeries were performed in hospitals and would typically require patients to be admitted for two to three nights after the procedure. However, two major advances with technology and medicine, minimally invasive surgical procedures and improved anesthesia and analgesics (pain relievers), have paved the way for same-day-surgery.
  • To quantify ASC growth, the ambulatory outpatient services employment sector has grown by 68% across the Mid-Atlantic since 2008, generating more than 19,000 new jobs. In the Mid-Atlantic, there are now 740 ASCs, of which 74% are in Maryland, 21% in Virginia and 5% in DC. The map above weighs Medicare population, people ages 45 to 74, and existing ambulatory facilities to assess where the highest pockets of future growth lie, with dark red areas representing the most opportunistic places for growth. So where are ASC’s located and which areas represent high-growth areas?
  • Maryland, whose population is older than both the District and Virginia, achieved the highest ambulatory outpatient growth with 11,000 new jobs. Jobs and real estate have a strong correlation: there are approximately 549 ASCs in Maryland with 55% located in Montgomery, Baltimore and Prince George’s Counties. Greater Baltimore has the largest concentration of ASCs with 143 locations, or 26% of the total. Future growth opportunities lie in the outskirts of Suburban Montgomery and Howard Counties as well as north of Baltimore in Harford County where there are only 20 ASCs, or 4% of total in Maryland, matching closely with the demand profile of ASC patients.
  • Meanwhile, Virginia created 7,300+ new ambulatory outpatient jobs, an 82% increase over the past 10 years, due to a fast-growing patient population in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties. While Virginia accounts for only 21% of ASCs in the Mid-Atlantic, the majority of those ASCs, 58%, are in Northern Virginia, primarily in Merrifield, Falls Church and Springfield. North Arlington and McLean represent areas with the most growth potential ahead.
  • In contrast to its neighbors, DC posted 700 new ambulatory jobs, growing by 23% over the past 10 years. There are 36 ASCs in DC, with the West End containing 30% of the total. The Southwest and Northeast quadrants of DC present the most ideal locations for growth with only three current ASCs and the highest population growth projections in the city.

Source: JLL Research

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