Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Funds Available to Survey ASCs

Earlier this year, a GAO report underscored that Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC) do not make standardized data pertaining to the prevalence of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) available. According to the GAO report, there are at least five disparate sources of data on HAIs in ambulatory surgical centers and recommended that HHS implement a plan to do recurring periodic surveys at randomly selected ambulatory surgical centers.

On July 31st, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that ARRA funding to be administered by CMS, will go to 12 states to survey more than 125 ambulatory surgical centers before September 30, 2009 at an estimated cost of up to $1 million. The goal is to ensure that the facilities are following Medicare’s health and safety standards. As part of the new initiative, state surveyors will use a new CMS survey process that uses a tool developed with CDC.

New Jersey was one of the 12 states awarded funding of $125,000. Presently, the state has 100 licensed surgery centers that are inspected every two years under extensive state licensing rules. Other ambulatory surgical centers in the state are operated by physicians who are regulated by the state Board of Medical Examiners. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services conducts additional federal inspections which currently are only required every seven years.

New Jersey plus the following states to receive funding include Arkansas ($14,000), Florida ($16,000), Indiana ($62,000), Kansas ($53,500), Maine ($13,500), Maryland ($73,000), Michigan ($53,000), North Carolina ($34,000), Oregon ($53,500), Utah ($62,500), and Wyoming ($11,500).

In addition to the funds made to the twelve states, an additional $9 million will be made available in October 2009 so that all of the states will be able to make additional inspections of ASCs with the new survey tool. Also, CDC will also make $40 million available to state public health departments to create or expand state-based HAI prevention and surveillance efforts and to strengthen the public health workforce to help prevent HAIs.