The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, or AAAASF, is an organization founded in 1980 for the purpose of enforcing higher standards in America’s medical facilities. Having accredited thousands of facilities worldwide, AAAASF is considered by many medical experts to be the “golden standard in accreditation.” AAAASF examines every aspect of the medical facility, from the hygiene standards of the operating rooms, to the qualifications of the staff, to the data which they track and review. By ensuring that a hospital has met its high standards of safety and quality, the AAAASF allows patients to know where they can receive the best healthcare possible. Here at the NYC Pain Specialists, we have received such accreditation, confirming our ability to meet the highest standards of modern medicine and provide the best possible services made available to our patients.
In order to qualify for AAAASF accreditation, this facility has to satisfy several basic mandates, meet the required standards for maintaining and using an operating room, and proper maintenance and usage of a recovery room. There are also standards defining the maintenance of general safety within the facility, and the proper utilization of IV fluids, anesthesia, and medications. Furthermore, the facility is required to maintain its medical records appropriately, retain competent personnel, and the means to properly govern said personnel. Finally, the facility must meet several standards regarding the quality of its care towards its patients. At all times, a AAAASF accredited facility is required to adhere to the Life Safety Code and the Health Care Facility Code, both of which are detailed by the AAAASF.
The basic mandates of the AAAASF establish some fundamental rules which the facility must adhere to. They specify information which must be disclosed to the AAAASF, as well as the frequency at which said information is disclosed.
The basic mandates are as follows:
Patients receiving anesthesia other than local or topical anesthesia must be supervised by a responsible adult for 12-24 hours after application, depending on the procedure performed and the anesthesia used.
Any changes in the ownership of the facility must be reported to the AAAASF within thirty days of the change.
Any deaths occurring in the facility, or any deaths occurring within 30 days of an operation performed at this facility, must be reported to the AAAASF within five business days after the facility is notified of said death.
All medical professionals within the facility must be certified, or eligible for certification, by a national organization correlating with their profession. Said organizations are as follows: The American Board of Medical Specialties for Medical Doctors (M.D.), the American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists for Doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.), the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery for podiatrists, and the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for oral and maxillofacial surgeons.
The director of the facility must be responsible in establishing and enforcing policies which protect its patients, in addition to monitoring staff in order to ensure compliance with said policies. Furthermore, the facility must display and encourage adherence to the AAAASF Patient’s Rights, which gives patients the rights to consent to their healthcare, the rights to know about the healthcare they're receiving and the people giving said healthcare, and the general right to doctor-patient confidentiality (these being a very brief summary of the patient rights. The full document can be found on the AAAASF website, as well as any AAAASF accredited facility).
All medical professionals must be given unrestricted hospital privileges in their specialty.
The AAAASF must be allowed to conduct onsite inspections of the facilities on a regular basis.
The AAAASF also details how operating rooms should be maintained and how operations should be carried out. Numerous regulations ensure that surgery can occur with minimal risk towards the patient. These regulations are as follows:
There must be a pre-emptive “time-out” before each operation, in order to verify that the patient is receiving the correct treatment, and that all materials and personnel required for the operation are here and accounted for.
The operating room, as well as the waiting rooms and lavatories should all maintain a clean and “professional” appearance.
The waiting rooms, operating rooms, and recovery rooms should all be physically segregated from each other, as well as from the general office area.
The operating suite of the facility must contain operating rooms (at least one of which is designated solely for operations), a prep/scrub area, a clean area and/or a dirty area, and a recovery room. Furthermore, an exam room must also be able to function as an operating room.
Operating rooms must have ample space both for the storage of necessary materials and to accommodate all necessary personnel for each procedure.
Operating rooms must be hygienic, well lit, and properly ventilated. Their temperature should always remain between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and they should be equipped to deter the entrance of both unwanted persons and any pests or outside germs.
All messes must be cleaned with proper germicides, and all operating rooms should have at least one autoclave present in order to sterilize equipment. The floor should be built with smooth, washable tiles that are always free of particulate matter.
All ambulatory surgery staff must have knowledge of how to detect and stop infections, and protocols must exist to aid in this endeavor. Reported infections must be logged, and techniques used to prevent infections must be regularly used.
Each operating room must be equipped with: an EKG monitor with a pulse readout, a pulse oximeter (both for use in the operating room and the recovery room), blood pressure monitoring equipment, a standard defibrillator or an Automated External Defibrillator Unit (AED Unit), pneumatic boots or a substitute, a source of oxygen and every possible means of delivering that oxygen to a patient, a means of cauterizing wounds, as well as an electrocautery with appropriate grounding plate/disposable pad, and an anesthesia machine with a proper failsafe and the means to deliver said anesthesia equipped. This equipment must be regularly inspected by a biomedical engineer.
Each operating room must be equipped with emergency power and emergency supplies.
By following the aforementioned medical standards, AAAASF accredited facilities are able to ensure the highest quality medical care for their patients. Facilities accredited by the AAAASF will be capable of treating a wide variety of different injuries, and will be able to accompany any patient it takes in. By ensuring a professional staff and efficient logistics within the facility, the AAAASF minimizes risks to the patient and ensures that they receive treatment as soon as possible. As an AAAASF accredited facility, the New York City Pain Specialists is able to meet the lofty standards put forth by the AAAASF, and is thus able to provide some of the highest quality medical care in the nation. This is all done to ensure our patients will always receive the treatment they need.
“What Is Accreditation.” Aaaasf.org, www.aaaasf.org/who-we-are/what-is-accreditation.
“Patient Bill of Rights.” Aaaasf.org, www.aaaasf.org/patients/patient-bill-of-rights.
“AAAASF Releases Latest List of Facilities Receiving Accreditation.” Rehab Managment, www.rehabpub.com/2016/04/aaaasf-releases-latest-list-facilities-receiving-accreditation/.
ASC Standards and Checklist. www.aaaasf.org/docs/default-source/accreditation/standards/standards-manual-and-checklist-v6-7-(asc).pdf?sfvrsn=22.