State Health Department Approves Guidelines for Office-Based Surgery

Albany, February 6, 2001 – State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello M.D., M.P.H., Dr. P.H., today announced the release of new clinical guidelines for surgery in office–based settings. The guidelines which are approved by the State Health Department will help to ensure that the public is adequately protected when undergoing surgery/invasive procedures in private offices of health care practitioners.

In 1997, Governor Pataki directed the State Health Commissioner to establish a Committee on Quality Assurance in Office–Based Surgery (the Committee). Functioning under the auspices of the Public Health Council, the Committee was composed of distinguished individuals representing various surgical specialities, anesthesiology, internal medicine, dentistry, managed care plans and organizations and consumers.

"The goal of these guidelines is to promote increased patient care and safety in office–based practices. Increasingly, consumers receive surgical care in doctors' offices. These guidelines establish the expected standard of care for those procedures and will give consumers peace of mind that standards are in place to help guide health care in these settings," Dr. Novello said. "We must have protocols and procedures in place in offices where surgeries take place in order provide a standard of care that protects and promotes patient safety."

The Committee was charged with the development of clinical guidelines that physicians should use in establishing and operating office–based surgical practices. The Committee was created in response to the growing number of surgical procedures that were being performed in private physician offices and which are not regulated under public health law.

The guidelines provide surgical practitioners with specific protocols, policies, and procedures that:

  • assure high quality of care in a safe and clean environment;
  • assure the use of appropriately trained and licensed personnel; and
  • recognize patient rights.

The guidelines are written in a straightforward manner that provide physicians with practical advice on protocols and policies that they can use in establishing an office–based surgical practice.

The guidelines cover the safe provision of anesthesia services by trained and qualified personnel, the hiring and credentialing of staff, office procedures, medical record keeping, infection control techniques, providing informed consent to patients, and the maintenance of equipment and operating rooms. The guidelines will also be used as a standard of care by the Office of Professional Medical Conduct when reviewing office–based surgery practice.

The guidelines will be disseminated to all licensed and registered physicians and physician's assistants in the State. As recommended by the Committee, the Department intends to pursue a pre – and post– evaluation of the guidelines to assess their effectiveness and to determine if they need further revision. As part of the evaluation, the Department will use an independent contractor to review a number of office–based practices.

The Committee met regularly between December 1997 and April 1999 and held three public hearings to solicit formal comment from interested parties. All meetings were open to the public and the Committee benefited greatly from the active participation of practitioners, facility representatives and representatives of health care accrediting agencies and others. The Office –Based Surgery Guidelines can be accessed on the Health Department's website (

Click Here to visit the Clinical Guidelines for Office–Based Surgery Home Page

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