Ambulatory Surgery Centers Performed Essential Outpatient Surgeries Safely during the First Months of the Pandemic, Survey Finds
For Immediate Release
(October 8, 2020) A survey of more than 700 ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) found that ASCs continued to perform essential outpatient surgeries safely during March and April this year, with patients facing virtually no heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus either during or following their procedures.
The survey was developed and carried out by the ASC Quality Collaboration (ASC QC), an independent, nonprofit organization established by leaders in the ASC community, accreditation organizations and professional associations to develop meaningful quality measures for ASCs, support the public reporting of healthcare quality data and promote high-quality outpatient surgery.
According to Ann Shimek, executive director of the ASC QC, “This survey data confirms that ASCs, which had numerous safety protocols in place prior to the pandemic to prevent the spread of infections, can continue to perform essential surgeries without putting patients at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. Together with the additional COVID-19 safety measures ASCs have in place today, including heightened preoperative screenings, additional sanitary measures and air filtration protocols, ASCs can maintain a safe, sanitary environment to treat patients, while keeping the health professionals providing their care protected.”
Specifically, 709 outpatient surgery centers in eight states1 were surveyed, including three states—New York, New Jersey and Louisiana—that were experiencing high rates of COVID-19 infection in the general population.
A total of 84,446 patients were included in the survey. Only 16 of those patients tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days after their procedures, an infinitesimally small infection rate of just 0.02 percent. It should also be noted that there is no way of actually knowing when or how the 16 patients became infected.
The survey also showed that only two of the 16 infected patients required hospitalization, primarily for respiratory issues, and no patients experienced cardiac issues, blood clotting or kidney failure.
The survey results are also the featured topic of an Advancing Surgical Care Podcast discussion between Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) Chief Executive Officer Bill Prentice and Stuart Simon, MD, medical director of United Surgical Partners International (USPI).
1 Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania
The ASC Quality Collaboration (ASC QC) was formed in 2006, bringing together leaders from both the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) industry and organizations with a focus on healthcare quality and safety. Today, its efforts are focused on quality measure development, the public reporting of quality data, advancing ASC quality and advocacy.