Why Plastic Surgeons Should Operate in Accredited Facilities
Although a board-certified plastic surgeon is key to a safe and successful operation, where you will be having your procedure is just as important. Before booking your breast augmentation or abdominoplasty, ensure that your plastic surgeon operates exclusively in accredited surgical facilities.
Why does facility accreditation matter?
Operating in accredited surgical facilities helps guarantee your safety and well-being by verifying that:
● The operating room has everything a doctor needs to respond appropriately and quickly in emergencies or life-and-death situations. The operating room has the latest, most reliable equipment for resuscitation and other life-saving strategies. There are trained, licensed personnel present to assist in an emergency, and the staff present during a surgical procedure. Medical professionals who operate in accredited facilities also have clear and effective procedures when handling a crisis.
● The medical facility has a gold standard for cleanliness.
● Considering the equipment necessary for performing surgery and monitoring anesthesia, an operating room must have stable electricity, as well as a source of backup power in case of a blackout. All accredited surgical facilities are also "up to code," which means people can enter and leave the area safely, there is good lighting, and other basic preconditions are met.
● The staff assisting a surgeon have the qualifications and certifications to perform their responsibilities. Although most television shows stereotypically depict support staff as simply handing a scalpel to a surgeon, real-life medical situations are much more complicated. Nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgical technicians all perform essential tasks that ensure an invasive procedure’s safety and success. The latter is especially important when it comes to handling anesthesia when proper administration and monitoring can mean the difference between life and death. In an unaccredited center, there is no guarantee that staff assisting the doctor have proper medical training.
● Your plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, AZ, has a valid and unrestricted medical license. If a surgeon recommends performing surgery in their office or an unaccredited facility, it is a red flag indicating that they may have had their license or privileges suspended, and they have no other choice than to operate outside of accredited centers.
● Your privacy is of utmost priority. U.S. laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protect your personal healthcare information from falling into the hands of untrustworthy individuals. Accredited surgery facilities comply with these laws.
● An accredited medical facility is open for several months before it becomes eligible for accreditation, ensuring it is a reputable and well-run institution.
Now, let us discuss what an "accredited surgery center" actually means.
What is facility accreditation, and who verifies it?
The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) defines accreditation as a voluntary process in which hospitals, outpatient surgical facilities, and other healthcare centers undergo to ensure they possess a high standard for cleanliness, safety, personnel, and equipment. You might think of accreditation as a form of "board certification" for operating rooms.
Currently, there are four major accrediting agencies in the United States. These include:
● Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)
● American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF)
● The Joint Commission
● Institute of Medical Quality (IMQ)
As their names suggest, the AAAHC and AAAASF issue accreditation for ambulatory surgical facilities such as outpatient surgery centers and private operating rooms within a surgeon's practice. The IMQ issues accreditation for ambulatory surgery centers and office-based surgical procedures as well. The Joint Commission is the major independent accrediting body for hospitals, and they also issue accreditation for outpatient medical facilities. You can learn more about each accrediting body here.
Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) is a fifth agency operating under the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). HFAP's principal role is guaranteeing that facilities participating in Medicare are complying with CMS regulations. Surgical facilities that work with Medicare or Medicaid patients usually seek accreditation from HFAP in addition to one or more of the above independent agencies.
There are numerous other reputable accrediting bodies across the United States, mostly on a state or regional level.
Although each accrediting body has its specific list of requirements, they all work to ensure that:
● There are strict standards for sanitation and infection control.
● All operating rooms have the equipment needed to handle an emergency.
● Licensed and qualified surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists are present.
● The surgery centers are complying with policies and procedures for patient care, privacy, and recordkeeping.
● The facilities go through regular re-evaluations to ensure they are maintaining standards.
● They are following American building codes.
How to determine if a surgeon operates in accredited facilities
Finding out if your doctor's operating room or medical facility is accredited before scheduling a procedure is critical to your health and safety. Fortunately, determining if a surgeon operates in quality centers is a quick and easy task. Here are three steps you can take:
● Choose a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Aldo Guerra. Such reputable surgeons must operate in facilities accredited by a major accrediting body or their state's medical board.
● Search for the accrediting agency listed on a plastic surgery practice's website, or call to ask for the information needed. Most surgeons understand the importance of disclosing this valuable information for the safety and well-being of their patients.
● According to the ABCS, you can verify accreditation by asking for the official name and address of the surgical facility and then look it up on the accrediting agency directory. Click here for AAAHC and here for The Joint Commission. You will have to call or send an email for a complete list of AAAASF accredited facilities or IMQ accredited facilities.
The team here at Guerra Plastic Surgery Center hopes that you now have a better idea about the importance of facility accreditation in Scottsdale, AZ and that you feel better prepared to make safe, informed decisions about your desired procedure. If you have further questions and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Guerra, please call us at 480-970-2580 or complete our online form here.