Senate Bill 5453 proposes to allow ambulatory surgical facilities to add “recovery care centers” that would care for post-surgical patients for an extended 48 hours after surgery, in addition to the currently permitted time of 23 hours and 59 minutes. This is a slightly modified version from last year’s bill, also opposed by WSHA.
While the bill is supposed to be aimed at serving patients for whom it is reasonable to expect an uncomplicated recovery but who need a little more time, it would instead vastly expand the types of procedures ambulatory surgical facilities may offer. A patient who needs a little more recovery time requires hours of post-surgical care, not days.
Almost three quarters of inpatient surgical stays in community hospitals are four days or less. This bill proposes to allow ambulatory surgical facilities to offer hospital-like lengths of stay without any of the corresponding hospital regulations. Ambulatory surgical facilities lack important state and federal regulations regarding quality and safety, including licensure standards and construction review.
This bill will be heard on Thursday in Senate Health Care, and WSHA will testify in opposition. (Zosia Stanley, 206/216-2511)