The Importance of Accreditation for Surgical Facilities
Last reviewed: 26 October 2023
Accreditation is a critical factor in ensuring the highest standards of patient care in surgical facilities. The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc. (AAAASF), a leading not-for-profit accrediting body, has been instrumental in this field since its inception in 1980.
AAAASF: An Overview
AAAASF is the largest not-for-profit accrediting body in the United States, established to enhance the quality of medical and surgical care in ambulatory surgery facilities through standardization and accreditation. Today, the organization accredits more than 2000 ambulatory surgery facilities, with several others working towards this prestigious recognition.
AAAASF has made significant strides in legislative efforts, leading the charge to mandate the accreditation process for facilities, patients, and communities worldwide.
Accreditation Standards: Setting the "Gold Standard"
AAAASF is renowned for establishing the "Gold Standards" for quality patient care in the ambulatory surgical facilities. Accredited facilities must maintain total compliance with these stringent standards and practices during and beyond the accreditation process.
The Accreditation Journey
The journey to becoming an accredited surgical facility involves a comprehensive assessment and evaluation process. Once the necessary paperwork is completed, and the floor plan is approved, an inspector is typically assigned within 30 days to evaluate the facility.
Costs of Accreditation
Accreditation with AAAASF comes with certain costs, which are primarily based on the number of specialists working in the surgical facility. The fee structure can be found in the table below:
|Application Fee/Re-inspection Fee
|Small Facility (1-3 Surgeons/Dentists/Diagnostic Personnel)
|Medium Facility (4-9 Surgeons/Dentists/Diagnostic Personnel)
|Large Facility (10-20 Surgeons/Dentists/Diagnostic Personnel)
|Facilities with Over 20 Surgeons/Dentists/Diagnostic Personnel
AAAASF also operates internationally under the name AAAASFI. It has developed a global program to inspect and accredit surgery and dental clinics that exceed superior standards.
All accredited clinics must pass an inspection of all practice standards in the following areas:
- General environment and safety
- Operating room environment
- Policies and procedures
- Recovery room environment
- Blood and medications
- Medical records
- Quality assessment
- Personnel and staff
The Value of Accreditation
There's a growing global need for uniform surgical facility standards and practices. Accreditation guarantees that a surgical facility is up to par with the highest standards of patient care and safety.
Not All Facilities Are Accredited
Despite the recognized benefits and safety assurance of accreditation, many ambulatory surgery clinics operate without it. This lack of accreditation, peer review, or inspection processes is a cause for concern.
Accreditation is a critical tool to ensure patient safety and high-quality care in surgical facilities. AAAASF continues to pioneer in this field, setting high standards for facilities and leading legislative efforts for mandatory accreditation.
Ready to become an accredited facility? Review the AAAASF standards of excellence to see if your facility qualifies.
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"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives." - William A. Foster