What has and hasn't changed for ASC accreditation during the pandemic

Since the pandemic began, ASC accreditation organizations had to rethink how to conduct on-site surveys, while ASC leaders haven't reported significant changes in their preparations.

Two major ASC accreditation organizations, the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, told Becker's ASC Review what's changed since the start of the pandemic.

Both organizations are adhering to the CDC's guidelines of social distancing and mask-wearing during travel and on-site surveys, according to spokespeople. The AAAHC is recommending administrators work with surveyors to streamline workflow so traffic in patient care areas is minimized. Opting for phone calls and teleconferences with key personnel was also suggested.

Additional steps AAAASF has taken included piloting a virtual survey process with regulatory partners, asking centers ahead of time of any suspected staff and patient exposure to COVID-19, and making sure centers have personal protective equipment for surveyors, a spokesperson said.

Joleen Harrison, BSN, RN, administrative director of Mankato (Minn.) Surgery Center, said keeping up with what other ASCs are doing has helped preparations for her.

"We pay close attention to the local and national ASC associations to hear what others are doing as best practices," she said. "Using the recommendations from either CDC or our state department of health guidelines helps review what they expect the ASCs to have in place."

Becky Ziegler-Otis, administrator of Ambulatory Surgical Center of Stevens Point (Wis.) said she sees survey preparation as a continuous process.

"Despite the needed attention required by the many scenarios presented by the pandemic, we remained vigilant with our daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly checks, safety practices, equipment preventive maintenance, documentation compliance, etc.," she said. "We may not have had the time to invest in new processes or to better understand proposed regulation through regular review of available resources because of spending the research time on trying to stay ahead of what needed to be done to protect our patients, staff and providers throughout the pandemic."


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