Spitzer Signs Law Re Safety Standards for Office-Based Surgery
Governor Eliot Spitzer announced on July 20 that he has signed legislation regulating surgical procedures in physicians’ offices. The legislation will provide for appropriate patient safety standards regarding whether a surgery can be performed in a hospital, ambulatory surgery center, or a doctor’s office.
Currently, surgeries performed in doctor’s offices are not regulated in New York State. Practitioners are not currently bound by the same credentialing and safety requirements as hospitals and are not required to report adverse outcomes.
“We have a responsibility to protect public safety by ensuring that facilities that offer office-based surgeries meet rigorous safety standards,” said Governor Spitzer. “Many procedures can be performed safely in an office environment, allowing patients convenient access to medical care and increasing efficiency.”
The new law:
- Requires office-based surgery to be performed by physicians in a setting that has obtained and maintained accreditation from an entity approved by the state health commissioner.
- Requires that operating in an un-accredited setting would constitute professional medical misconduct.
- Requires physicians to report adverse office-based surgery events, including patient deaths and unplanned hospital admissions, within one business day to the Department of Health Patient Safety Center.
- Requires that individual reports be considered confidential and not be subject to the Freedom of Information Law or discovery.
Nationwide, the number of surgical procedures performed in doctors’ offices instead of hospitals has more than doubled in the last decade, with nearly 10 million surgical procedures performed annually in office-based settings since 2000.
The procedures being performed are increasingly complicated surgical and invasive procedures. William B. Rosenblatt, MD, MSSNY past president (2004-2005) and member of the Committee on Quality Assurance in Office-Based Surgery, said: “On behalf of the Medical Society of the State of New York, I would like to congratulate Commissioner Daines for his strong leadership in advancing a public health agenda that will assure that basic standards of care are met when surgery is performed in office settings.”