Web Log – September 2016 – Importance of OR Accreditation

My on site Operating Room, Meadow Lake Surgery Center, is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF).  Every three years, the facility is inspected for compliance with required high standards for patient safety.  As the staff works hard to make sure all paperwork documentation is ready, it is not lost on me that not all small facilities across the country and right here in the Treasure Valley are not held to the same exacting standard.  Why does it matter?  I cannot say it better than Dr. Paul Vitenas, a Houston, Texas Plastic Surgeon who wrote a recent blog post for distribution by American Society of Plastic Surgeons members…

So, you are feeling pretty good about your newly scheduled your cosmetic surgery procedure. You were careful, devoting hours to research on surgeons and procedures, making sure everything was just right. But did you look into WHERE the procedure will be performed? Are you sure you chose an accredited surgical facilitywith a clean background? This is a detail that many people overlook, assuming the operating room will be fine. However, choosing an accredited facility is vital for a safe experience.


You may wonder why any surgeon would use a less than exemplary surgical facility. One answer is painfully obvious – the cost. An easy way for a surgeon to cut their overhead is to use the cheapest operating room possible. Of course, no respectable surgeon would take this shortcut, so if you find out there is not an accredited surgical suite included, it is time to find a new doctor. The added expense will be worth it.

A fly-by-night surgical facility could also be a red flag about the surgeon’s background. His or her privileges may have been suspended at the accredited hospital or its associated surgery center. This could happen because of medical mistakes or behavior problems. No matter the reason, do not put yourself in this risky situation; move on.


  1. An accredited facility will monitor and report incidents of infections, complications, and other issues related to patient safety to the medical board and health department.

  2. Protocols for emergencies, fires, and inclement weather are in place and are constantly being reviewed.

  3. Physician’s certifications are checked routinely, making sure no unlicensed professionals are working.

  4. Quality management ensures the best patient care standards are met, from equipment, to food, and to staffing.

  5. Patient care and treatment plans are reviewed and updated; they are not years or even decades old.

  6. A patient’s rights and responsibilities are clearly displayed.

  7. Drug and medication expiration dates have not lapsed, and supplies are up to date, as well.

  8. Surgeons serve as peer review monitors for each other, ensuring continuity and quality of care.

  9. Anesthesia standards are clearly set, and always administered by a licensed anesthesiologist.

  10. Accredited ambulatory facilities are shown to have exceptionally low rates of serious complications and low mortality rates.


The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) requires member surgeons to use operating facilities that are routinely monitored for quality and safety. Accreditation and state licensure are vital components of an approved surgical center. Patients can put their trust in these surgeons and facilities, knowing they will have the best chance for effective, satisfying results.

An ASPS-Approved Surgical Center must have at least one of the following:

  • Accreditation by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAASF)

  • Accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)

  • Accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO)

  • Participation in the title XVIII Medicare program

  • State licensure in the state of operation


There are three bodies that certify surgery centers in the United States. The Joint Commission (JCAHO) holds the strictest requirement for certification, monitoring hospital ORs. The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) and the (AAAASF) provide certification for outpatient and office-based surgical centers. While accreditation is optional, participation means a facility holds high standards for patient care and safety. Expect nothing less for your upcoming cosmetic surgery procedure.

Finding out if your surgery center is accredited is simple. Visit JCAHO, AAAHC, or AAAASF for more information, or to find an accredited surgery center near you.

Mark D. Wigod, MD, FACS, providing Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery to Boise, Meridian, Treasure Valley and Southeastern Idaho.


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