Certain Office-Based Surgery Practices in NYS must be Accredited by July 14

Affects Physician Offices Performing Invasive Procedures with Moderate or Deep Sedation or General Anesthesia

ALBANY, NY (June 25, 2009) - Under Governor David A. Paterson's leadership, the State Department of Health (DOH) has been working diligently to ensure patient safety. State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today urged all New York State physicians' offices performing invasive procedures and surgery requiring moderate or deep sedation to obtain accreditation by July 14 as mandated by New York State Law.

"As the deadline for accreditation nears, the Governor wants to ensure that all physicians' offices that conduct office-based surgeries are in compliance with this law," said Commissioner Daines. "Accreditation is an important step toward assuring that New Yorkers receive the highest quality of care when undergoing surgery in these outpatient settings."

The accreditation requirement, a component of the Office-based Surgery Law enacted in 2007, was the result of DOH legislation that specifies that all physicians' offices that perform invasive procedures and surgery requiring moderate or deep sedation or general anesthesia obtain accreditation by a nationally recognized body designated by the Commissioner of Health no later than July 14, 2009.

The designated accrediting bodies are the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities Inc., and the Joint Commission.

After July 14, consumers will be able to check the listing of accredited Office-Based Surgery practices on DOH's Web site at www.nyhealth.gov.

"The Office-based Surgery Law provides protections for patients undergoing certain surgical procedures in physicians' offices," said James Clyne, Deputy Commissioner for DOH's Office of Health Systems Management. "While offices are not regulated in the same way that hospitals and Diagnostic and Treatment Centers are, they must now be surveyed by nationally recognized accrediting bodies to ensure that they are meeting standards of safety and care."

Offices currently performing invasive procedures and surgery requiring moderate or deep sedation that are not accredited by the July 14 deadline will no longer be authorized to do these surgeries. Additionally, after July 14 physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants who continue to perform these specific procedures in a non-accredited setting may face professional misconduct charges.

A second component of the Office-based Surgery Law, requiring these office-based surgery practices to report all adverse events to DOH, became effective in January 2008.

In addition to the Office-based Surgery Law, last year Governor Paterson sponsored landmark legislation known as the Patient Safety Law to further improve health care quality for New Yorkers by enhancing the State's authority in medical conduct investigations and the prevention of disease transmission and infection control violations.

Under that law, as of September 2, 2008, a physician who becomes aware that a blood-borne pathogen may have been transmitted as a result of a procedure performed in an office-based setting is required to report all requested information on the patient within one business day to DOH's Patient Safety Center.

Prior to the late 1990s, most surgical procedures were performed in hospital settings under regulation of Public Health Law. In response to a rapid increase in the number of surgical procedures being performed in private physician offices over the last decade, the State has taken a number of measures to protect patient safety in these settings, which previously were not subject to Public Health Law.

In late 2000, DOH issued the first clinical guidelines for office-based surgery in conjunction with the Committee on Quality Assurance in Office-based Surgery, a special committee established by the Department and the New York State Public Health Council.

Additional information on office-based surgery requirements in New York State is available on DOH's Web site at: