Ambulatory surgical facilities must protect patients

February 13, 2017

Ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs) and hospitals provide different services to patients; they are also regulated very differently. Because they generally do simpler surgeries, ASFs operate under fewer patient-safety laws and regulations. Currently, ASFs are limited to providing surgeries only if the patient can be sent home in less than 24 hours.

SB 5593 threatens patient safety by creating hospital-like facilities without any of the safety requirements the Washington State Legislature and other governmental and accrediting bodies have put in place for hospitals. The bill proposes to allow ambulatory surgical facilities to add “postsurgical care centers” to care for patients who require up to 72 hours of post-treatment care. There is an array of state or federal mandates for inpatients in community hospital settings to ensure the safety of any patient requiring care for a period of longer than 23 hours. Given the level of acuity experienced by post-surgical patients requiring an overnight stay, hospital safety and quality requirements are appropriate and necessary, yet are not required under this proposed legislation.

WSHA opposes this bill. (Zosia Stanley)

Senate Health Care Committee: Monday, February 13, 8 a.m.


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