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LETTER: Criticism of health care quality at ASCs unfounded

We write in response to your recent article regarding ambulatory surgery centers in New Jersey

(”People are dying after procedures in NJ surgery centers and it's not always made public,” March 5).

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), are highly specialized, modern healthcare facilities that provide surgical care to hundreds of thousands of New Jersey patients each year. The care provided in ASCs is identical to the care provided by hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs). And the physicians, nurses and other professionals who work in ASCs have the same education and training as healthcare provided by hospitals.

Yet, your recent story attempts to paint a very negative picture of ASCs and the care they provide using anecdotal information and allegations from ongoing litigation. A great deal of this story is based on adverse event reports originating in ASCs. While we acknowledge adverse events do occur in ASCs, the relative number of adverse events is extraordinarily low. As healthcare providers, we also deeply regret every single adverse event and have great sympathy for those patients and their families. At the same time, enormous credit is due the thousands of men and women working in ASCs who follow a myriad of laws, regulations and medical protocols, to make their health care facilities as safe or safer than hospitals and other sites of care.

Your report fails to make any attempt to compare the level of safety, care, outcomes and cost efficiency in ASCs with other sites of care, particularly hospitals. It also implies that outpatient services performed in ASCs could or should be reclassified as inpatient and moved back into hospitals. That is not in anybody’s interest and neither the medical community nor the government regulatory community share that view. Had your writer made that comparison, she would have been compelled to conclude that ASCs operate under the same level of regulation, follow the same protocols and employ the same highly qualified professionals and most importantly, provide high quality outcomes for patients that match or exceed those achievements in hospital outpatient departments.

As New Jersey’s sole organization devoted to patient safety in ASCs, we are proud of our efforts to pass recent legislation requiring all New Jersey ASCs to be licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health.

 

By: Jeff Shanton, President, New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Trenton

Source: https://www.dailyrecord.com/

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