55% of ASCs have infection control problems, OIG finds

Infection control was the most frequently cited ambulatory surgery center problem between 2013 and 2017, with 55 percent of ambulatory surgery centers having one or more deficiency in this area, according to a report from HHS' Office of Inspector General. 

The OIG analyzed 2013-17 Medicare data on ASC complaints filed in 45 states, along with certification survey data for nondeemed ASCs.

Seventy-seven percent of ASCs had at least one general deficiency, with infection control constituting a fifth of all deficiencies, followed by pharmaceutical services (37 percent). 

Infection control was also the second most common type of patient complaint (24 percent) behind quality of care and treatment (35 percent). 

Despite a decrease in the average number of deficiencies from 2013-17, serious complaints — meaning immediate jeopardy or nonimmediate jeopardy high-priority situations that require an on-site visit — rose.

CMS has increased oversight of ASCs but must focus on recurring challenges to meeting health and safety requirements, especially regarding infection control, the OIG concluded. 

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