Four experts weighed in on ASC accreditation challenges and opportunites in interviews with Becker's ASC Review:
1. Get backgrounds checked. Credentialing physicians is an essential part of the accreditation process. Properly credentialing physicians can increase ASC profits, according to Ted Gottis, senior vice president at MedTrainer. Mr. Gottis works with ASCs to help staff manage the credentialing process and the verification of new physicians' professional backgrounds when they join ASCs or hospitals.
"Credentialing correctly and consistently from the outset can facilitate quality patient care; enhance revenue cycle management by allowing the ASC to seek reimbursement without delays; and provide invaluable defense in litigation scenarios by providing demonstrative evidence of due diligence," Mr. Gottis said.
2. Get program in order, review. American Surgery Center was accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. The ASC's chairman, Kemal Erkan, explained how the center prepared and shared tips for others undergoing a similar process:
"After identifying variances, we developed policies and procedures to align with the standards. We educated staff members and kept them engaged with implementation and quality improvement programs. Fortunately, we have seasoned surgeons in the specialty, and therefore we were able to meet the program's caseload requirements.
Our commitment to our patients is to provide them with individualized care. Our current process allows us to accomplish this by conducting weekly case conferences wherein our clinical and administrative leadership team, care providers and care coordination team intricately review each case and ensure that patients are receiving quality care throughout the process."
3. Share the workload. Tess Poland, RN, MSN, the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care's senior vice president of accreditation services, weighed in on the importance and significance of the association's advanced orthopedic certification in the increasingly crowded ASC market, as well as how to achieve the certification.
"Assign different tasks to your core leaders to oversee. Also, make sure you can pass a comprehensive assessment of your processes, policies and procedures, as well as anything else related to the certification standards. Once you've done that, develop an action plan and commit to weekly progress meetings until compliance in all standards has been achieved. That's important, because this program raises the bar for quality of care and patient outcomes."
4. Set measurable goals. Infection prevention, safe injection practices, privileging, credentialing and documentation management were the most common deficiencies cited in ambulatory quality studies last year, according to the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care 2019 quality roadmap.
Naomi Kuznets, PhD, vice president and senior director of the Institute for Quality Improvement for the association, weighed in on the findings of this year's report, sharing tips on how to improve quality at ASCs.
"Quality improvement includes several elements, and some of these are not necessarily intuitive for some providers/administrators. An example is setting a measurable performance goal. While many of the high deficiency standards continue to appear from year to year, we are seeing lower overall deficiency rates with certain standards, such as conducting quality improvement studies and scenario-based drills.
"The AAAHC offers a variety of resources to help with compliance for various high deficiency standards (such as safe injection practices, medication reconciliation and allergy documentation). These include e-learning and webinar opportunities, patient safety toolkits and studies. There are also the in-person achieving accreditation meetings which are held quarterly."