SAMBA responds to KHN/USA Today Second Article on Patient Safety in ASCs
In response to the article “Surgery centers don’t have to report deaths in 17 States”, published by USA Today in conjunction with Kaiser Health News on August 9, 2018.
Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia statement to patients:
Similar to Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) in the United States are safe, efficient and well-organized facilities that must comply with a wide range of laws, rules, and regulations. Most ASCs are certified by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This means that the facility meets a comprehensive set of standards established by the US Department of Health & Human Services and the CMS to ensure patient safety and top-quality care. In addition, most ASCs are either required or go through a voluntary accreditation process by organizations such as the Joint Commission (JC), the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare (AAAHC), and the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) on a regular basis.
ASCs routinely submit to inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA). Such inspections ensure that national safety standards are met. This confirms that patients are cared for in an environment that adheres to patient safety and infection prevention programs. Centers that are accredited and/or CMS-certified are required to maintain clinical staff who are qualified, competent, and certified in Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support (ACLS) to rescue adults or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) to rescue children from medical emergencies. Skilled anesthesia care providers that often work in these ASCs, and members of the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia (SAMBA) are keenly aware that complications and severe adverse events do happen in all locations: Hospitals, and ASCs albeit at a very low frequency in ASCs. These facilities are prepared to address complications as soon as they occur. When such severe adverse events occur, ASCs in the U.S. are required to report these adverse events to state authorities in the majority of the states. It is expected that eventually such reporting will be mandated in all the states. SAMBA favors transparency in this regard in order to minimize recurrences of adverse events to minimize patient risk.
Failing to inform readers of these crucial facts, and providing no comparisons to other sites of care, creates a misleading view of ASCs and could cause patients to make misguided judgments about where to seek medical care. ASCs provide excellent care to patients that do not need hospitalization for their procedures and have excellent safety records. CMS continues to evaluate quality measures that are meaningful to patient care, and the information is collected, analyzed and published to ensure transparency and adherence to the desired quality of care. Collaboratively and periodically, new quality measures that focus on intraoperative and post-operative care are developed and implemented.
SAMBA would like to inform readers of these facts so that patients may make informed decisions for their diagnostic and procedural cares that they need to seek.