New York Physicians Must Now be Accredited to Continue Procedures in Their Private Offices

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The Compliance Doctor, LLC reminds New York Licensed Physicians that the recent office-based surgery laws now require accreditation for physicians who utilize more than local to minimal sedation on patients in their offices.

Office-based surgery suites must now comply with the new law in New York State requiring them to be accredited, however, organizations should have already started this process in order to keep their practices from being left behind and risk disciplinary actions from the New York State Medical Boards.

No one knows the precise number of office-based surgery suites in the Empire State, although some estimates have placed the figure as high as 2,000. Consequently, if many facilities have chosen to wait until the last minute, the three accrediting organizations might not be able to get to everyone as quickly as the organizations would have hoped, according to Troy Lair, CEO of Los Angeles-based consulting company The Compliance Doctor, LLC.

Surgeons who have not received accreditation from The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO), The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) or the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) run the risk of losing their medical licenses if they continue to perform procedures while their offices are unaccredited.

The New York legislation was signed into law in July 2007 and, like in California, was spurred by a number of high-profile patient deaths. It requires that offices that perform procedures demanding more than minimal anesthesia--such as a topical agent or local, for example --must be accredited by January 2009. Unlike in most states, procedures in New York are usually performed in office-based settings instead of ambulatory surgery centers (ASC). That is because New York requires ASCs to get a certificate of need, a complicated and costly process as well as politically charged process-impacting relationships of hospitals and future ASC developments.

Posing as patients, Lair and his staff members at The Compliance Doctor called several New York office-based surgery suites. Office staff members and patients need more education about accreditation in the outpatient setting, Lair says. "This is my theory: By educating the consumer, the consumer pushes it at the state level," Lair says. "When patients realize that their State doesn't require accreditation, guess what? A study published in the Archives of Surgery in 2003 found that the risk of harm was 10 times greater if a surgery was done in a private doctor's office than if the same, surgery was done in an accredited ASC. Another study done by Lee Fleisher, MD, chair of anesthesiology and critical care at the University of Pennsylvania Health System showed that patients who had surgery in unaccredited outpatient surgical centers and office-based facilities were more likely to have to go to a hospital ER afterward than patients who had procedures done at accredited organizations. "I think if patients knew the difference between an accredited and a non-accredited organization, they would have helped push lawmakers into mandating this long before now."

"Twelve states now have regulations for office-based surgery that recognize accreditation, and six recommend accreditation within their Medical Board Professional and Business Codes". Lair went further to say, "more states are moving toward mandatory accreditation but, the pace needs to be kicked into a higher gear fueling patient safety standards that ultimately will save the lives of many across our nation". Consumers are urged to realize the intentions behind these types of accrediting standards, it is ultimate patient safety and quality outcomes, these mark the intentions and focus. You can reach Troy Lair @ THE COMPLIANCE DOCTOR, LLC by calling 310-566-7282 or the web: http://www.thecompliancedoctor.com.

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