Everything about the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities
The American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities is an independent American organization that evaluates and accredits ambulatory healthcare facilities. These facilities may include ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery centers, and college healthcare centers as well. At present, the AAAASF has been granted ‘deemed status,’ by Medicare to assess and certify independent healthcare centers in the US.
History: The Need for AAASF
Modern medical treatments have changed considerably. In fact, over the last decade, fast and minimally invasive techniques have become the norm. Most of these surgeries can be completed in an outpatient surgery and patients do opt for these quick and simple treatments. The crux of the matter lies in ensuring that these techniques are carried out in state-of-the-art medical centers with qualified personnel.
The AAAASF was set up in 1979 by six different member organizations to ensure that treatment standards were met at outpatient centers. At present, the organization has eighteen different member organizations that work with it to ensure that outpatient centers meet medical standards for each medical field. The AAAASF ensures that all outpatient medical centers and personnel meet basic and advanced standards so that they can provide the best medical care to patients.
In 1996, California became the first state to require mandatory accreditation from all out-patient medical care facilities. This California legislation (AB 595) ensured that patients could now get the same quality care as they would get in hospitals at all out-patient medical care centers. The AAAASF was instrumental in ensuring that the law was passed to protect patient rights and to ensure quality medical care at all times. Now, other states like Florida, Georgia, Texas, and New Jersey have followed suit and mandatory AAAASF could become necessary in all states.
Recently, the organization has also set up an international wing called the American Association for Accreditation for Ambulatory Surgery Facilities International, (AAAASFI). This international program will be evaluating all surgical and dental units to meet uniform international treatment standards.
The Accreditation Process
The accreditation process is changed annually to ensure that all modern trends, medical treatments and procedures are included in the evaluation process. The AAAASF personnel are usually volunteer inspectors that work with the organization to evaluate centers. These volunteer inspectors are also chosen based on their expertise in the ambulatory care sector. This imparts a huge advantage to the inspectors as they are intimately familiar with the specific issues related to ambulatory care.
The actual accreditation process will depend on the medical niche being evaluated and specific details are provided on the website. The AAAASF website offers detailed information packets for centers, medical personnel, and patients on their US website and international website as well. At last count, the organization had evaluated and accredited more than 2000 centers all over the US. Accreditation lasts for three years, and the center has to reapply for a new term. In case compliance is not met, the organization or treatment center may be issued a deferral or it may be denied accreditation.