Modern surgery and anesthesia have reached new heights in safety and new, less invasive procedures have been developed. However, economic pressures have created a trend in outpatient surgery in which all types of physicians are doing surgery in their offices. Many of these physicians are performing procedures learned during a weekend course and in many cases, are far afield from their training or not in their field of specialty. Another concern is the use of oral or intravenous sedating drugs on patients undergoing these procedures in non-accredited facilities. AAAASF accreditation assures proper credentials and strict requirements for safeguards prevent this scenario from happening!
The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc. (AAAASF) was established in 1980. Its primary mission is to ensure the highest quality patient care in the ambulatory surgery setting.
AAAASF is unique among accrediting agencies in protecting patients in an office-based surgery (OBS) setting:
- Requires surgeons to have hospital privileges for any procedure that is performed.
- Requires the use of Anesthesia professionals for deeper levels of anesthesia.
- Requires safe surgical environment, equipment, drugs, etc. through specific standards.
- Holds OBS to Hospital standards.
- Requires peer review (peer oversight) and tracks data (complications, mortalities, etc. with extensive data covering over 2 million procedures).
Today, with more than 2000 accredited outpatient facilities, the not-for-profit AAAASF is the largest accrediting organization of its kind in the nation.
Setting the Standard for Quality Patient Care
These days, there is more to having surgery than just selecting your surgeon. AAAASF has designed an accrediting program to help provide patients with the assurance of safety and quality in all aspects of their outpatient surgery experience. To achieve this goal, every AAAASF-accredited ambulatory surgery facility must meet stringent national standards for equipment, operating room safety, personnel and surgeon credentials. The experts at AAAASF know that maintaining safety and quality in the ambulatory surgery facility is a dynamic process, requiring constant review and revision of standards to reflect the current state-of-the-art. As the leading accrediting organization, AAAASF has developed the systems to effectively monitor and implement the latest advances in outpatient care delivery advances that directly benefit patients.
AAAASF accreditation has been recognized as the Gold Standard. The vast majority of ambulatory surgery facilities are not accredited, operating independently of any peer review and inspection process. A growing number of states throughout the country, however, are recognizing the need for mandatory accreditation. AAAASF is in the forefront of legislative efforts to provide patients with safety and quality assurance in the outpatient surgery setting.
In 1996, California became the first state to mandate accreditation for all outpatient facilities that administer sedation or general anesthesia. AAAASF was instrumental in the development of the California legislation (AB595), as well as subsequent laws and regulations adopted by states such as Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas. AAAASF accreditation has been accepted by State Departments of Health in lieu of state licensure, and AAAASF has been approved to inspect facilities for certification by Medicare. AAAASF accreditation guidelines have been recognized as the gold standard. providing the highest level of safety and quality in ambulatory surgery care.
Many private insurance carriers recognize accreditation by AAAASF for reimbursement of covered procedures.
AAAASF-accredited facilities must meet stringent requirements. All AAAASF-accredited facilities must:
- - comply with applicable local, state, and federal regulations including licensure, fire safety, sanitation and building codes for the protection of patients and medical personnel;
- - adhere to federal laws and regulations affecting their operation such as OSHA blood-borne pathogens standards, hazardous waste standards, the Americans with Disabilities Act and HIPAA;
- - utilize advanced instruments and monitoring devices for patient safety during surgery and in the recovery period;
- All individuals using the facility must meet one of the following criteria:
- A Doctor of Medicine certified or eligible for certification by one of the member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS medical or surgical specialty).
- A Doctor of Osteopathy certified or eligible for certification by the American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (AOABS).
- A podiatrist certified or eligible for certification by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS).
- An oral and maxillofacial surgeon certified or eligible for certification by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS), and
- provide for the administration of general anesthesia, when appropriate, by a board-certified or board-eligible anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist. Other personnel assisting in surgery and providing care for the patient in the recovery room include specially-trained and certified surgical technicians, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses.