To better understand why ASCs and their staff have been so impacted, we must explore the regulatory red tape that came along with the pandemic. When most states ceased elective surgery, many ASCs across the country shut down for at least a month, if not longer. Some facilities were forced to navigate complete closures, while others had to find ways to continue operating safely, albeit with reduced (“emergent” only) procedures. Naturally, this uncertainty caused undue stress on leaders and staff.
Only after facilities settled into their new reality did states begin to allow elective surgery again, bringing along a whole new set of concerns that delayed immediate reopening. To safely accommodate staff and patients, ASCs had to consider physical plant compliance, operations, new COVID-19 specific policies and protocols, staff training, finances, and new HR issues. To add to this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines and recommendations with many additional compliance requirements.
Before reopening, facilities also had to notify the department of health and accrediting organizations and ensure they had the oversight and approval of governing bodies.