Last week was Patient Safety Awareness Week, “designed to mark a dedicated time and a platform to increase awareness about patient safety among health professionals and the public” (United for Patient Safety, n.d.). Keeping patients safe must be our primary goal as healthcare providers! And being healthcare providers working in Medicare certified ambulatory surgery centers (ASC), we are obligated to comply with federal regulations that repeatedly underscore our responsibility to provide a safe environment for our patients (CMS, 2015).
There are too many adverse events in healthcare today. An adverse event is an unexpected occurrence during a healthcare encounter. An Office of Inspector General (OIG) report determined that the costs to Medicare, related to adverse and temporary harm events, totaled an estimated $324 million for only one month (OIG, n.d.). Our patients enter our facilities for elective procedures with expectations of a positive outcome. They place their complete trust in us and our facility. A safe environment of care is an underlying assumption and not something they need to be concerned about. Especially in light of a recent article, As Surgery Centers Boom, Patients are Paying with their Lives, published by Kaiser Health News, it is up to us as providers in ASCs to ensure we have it right!!
Operational aspects that are imperative to providing a safe environment of care for our patients include, but are not limited to, the following:
Proper patient identification
- Hand off communication
- Surgical site marking by surgeon
- Time Out
- Terminal cleaning
- Adequate hand hygiene
Patient safety starts with us! Create an ongoing culture of safety in your facility. Ensure you are passing this important message along to all of your clinical and medical staff this week and every week of the year! Mark your calendars for next years celebration March 10-16, 2019.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2015, April 1). State operations manual appendix L – guidance for surveyors: ambulatory surgical centers. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/Manuals/downloads/som107ap_l_ambulatory.pdf
United for Patient Safety. (n.d.). Patient Safety Awareness Week. Retrieved from http://www.unitedforpatientsafety.org/patient_safety_awareness_week
Office of Inspector General. (n.d.). Spotlight On…Adverse Events. Retrieved from https://oig.hhs.gov/newsroom/spotlight/2012/adverse.asp