The news that three Costa Rican clinics have just received accreditation from the AAAASF may lead you to ask, who?
The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) was established in 1980 to develop an accreditation program to standardize and improve the quality of medical and surgical care in US ambulatory surgery facilities while assuring the public of high standards for patient care and safety in an accredited facility.
Today more than 1,100 outpatient surgery facilities are accredited by AAAASF, the largest not-for-profit accrediting organization in the United States. Many more facilities are in process for accreditation. These numbers have increased dramatically over the last two years.
The vast majority of ambulatory surgery facilities in the world are unaccredited by AAAASF or anyone else, operating independent of any peer review and inspection process.
In 1996, California became the US state to mandate accreditation for all outpatient facilities that administer sedation or general anesthesia. AAAASF was instrumental in the development of the California legislation as well as subsequent laws and regulations in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and many other states.
AAAASF conducts an accreditation program that certifies that an accredited facility meets nationally recognized standards. Physicians, podiatrists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons conduct the accreditation program. The AAAASF strives for the highest standards of excellence for its facilities by regularly revising and updating its requirements for patient safety and quality of care.
AAAASF has designed an accrediting program to help provide patients with the assurance of safety and quality in all aspects of their outpatient surgery experience. To achieve this goal, every AAAASF-accredited ambulatory surgery facility must meet stringent national standards for equipment, operating room safety, personnel and surgeon credentials.
AAAASF’s Harlan Pollock says; “The business of AAAASF is accreditation. It is the high quality of our standards that have made AAAASF the ambulatory facility accreditation choice of governmental agencies, professional organizations and individual facilities. AAAASF core principles and philosophy concerning patient safety is a constant that is unwavering regardless of political or economic pressures that impact on healthcare, and therefore on the accreditation agencies. Our standards are continually upgraded in order to eliminate any ambiguity, as well as, to meet constantly changing practices and technology. This flexibility allows us to address the needs of our facilities, while still providing for patient safety. The agency was founded by a group of plastic surgeons who had high professional standards related to surgery, sterile technique, anesthesia and a strong opinion that office surgery needed oversight. Through the years, the leadership has been expanded to include physicians in other surgical and medical specialties. Recent expansion of AAAASF accreditation to include procedural and other medical facilities has been both challenging and rewarding. Applying our surgical philosophy and high standards on non-surgical specialties has contributed greatly to patient safety.”
Until recently, the organisation limited itself to the USA.It is now expanding into countries where the majority of medical tourists are Americans requiring outpatient treatment. This may be very attractive to small hospitals and clinics for which international accreditation by JCI or others is not cost-effective compared to the volume of Americans treated.