Say “Yes” to an accredited Operating Room

Recent articles in the Wall Street Journal (link) have pointed out the need for a more uniform standard in office operating rooms – namely accreditation by one of the three national OR inspection agencies.I couldn’t agree more. Improving safety standards for patient care is a good thing.

Accreditation of an operating room, whether it’s in the hospital or at an office, ensures that the facility meets important standards, like:

– appropriate facility design and safety equipment
– suitable cleaning & instrument sterilization standards
– proper patient monitoring devices
– appropriate back-up power supply
– suitable staff credentialing and training requirements for the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses
– suitable protocols and staff training for emergencies

Several years ago, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) made it a mandatory membership requirement: all ASPS members (like me) can only operate in accredited facilities, whenever any significant anesthesia is used.

Our facility, for example, is accredited by the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities(AAAASF) – which is one of the “big three” national agencies, along with AAAHC and JCAHO. This means we meet 100% of the standards that AAAASF has formulated, and have gone through an on-site inspection by an independent examiner. We also meet or exceed all Florida state standards for office surgery.

However, non-ASPS members and “wanna-be” cosmetic surgeons have less stringent requirements. Some of these offices may not have any semblance of adhering to accreditation safety standards at all.

Bottom line: always ask two questions regarding the facility, eespecially if it’s a doctor’s office- “Is this an accredited surgical facility?” and “Which certification agency?”.

The only acceptable answers are “Yes, it is”, and one of either JCAHO, AAAHC, or AAAASF.

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