Q: What are the risks of associating with an ambulatory surgery center (ASC)?
A: The final two areas of concern in this series* are equipment/resources and discharge planning. Concerning equipment and resources, risk management experts recommend you assess whether the ASC has adequate resources to care for the patient.
For example, do operating rooms contain necessary equipment, such as cardiac monitors, SA02 monitors, resuscitative equipment like defibrillators and suction?
It’s a good idea to assess whether the staff is properly trained to use the equipment and resources and whether the ASC has a procedure for updating that training. Also, ensure that equipment is maintained and periodically tested.
Resources represent another area of concern. Does the ASC maintain an adequate inventory of supplies, implants, medications, etc., to safely care for patients?
Regarding discharge procedures, it’s important to ensure the patient will be adequately monitored following the procedure and/or administration of moderate or deep sedation or anesthesia. Physicians should evaluate patients for proper recovery prior to their discharge from the ASC.
Experts recommend discharge instructions be reviewed by the patient and/or the responsible adult accompanying the patient, if applicable. Instructions should include information about post-operative conditions that require immediate medical attention, signs and symptoms to report to the physician, medication instructions and potential side effects, as well as follow-up directives.
Experts recommend patients be discharged from the post-anesthesia care unit either by a physician or by staff who follow rigorous criteria, such as the Post Anesthesia Discharge Scoring System.
Physicians insured by ProAssurance may contact our Risk Management department for prompt answers to liability questions by calling (800) 292-1036 or via e-mail.
*See Parts I and II on this topic in the June 1 and July 26, 2010, issues.