Illinois Increases Infection Control Scrutiny Over Surgery Centers
Health officials recently cited 14 of 21 inspected centers.
Published: August 9, 2011
Surprise inspections of 21 Illinois surgery centers by the state's department of public health revealed deficient infection control practices and resulted in citations for 14 of them.
Inspection results obtained by the Associated Press note that facilities were cited for failing to sterilize instruments for the required length of time, failing to investigate why a surgeon had a high rate of surgical site infections, placing dirty instruments on a table next to clean instruments, and mislabeling chemical disinfectant bottles and multi-use medication vials, among other infractions.
In addition, inspectors observed surgical staff members who had exposed hair in the OR, who reused surgical masks (wearing them dangling around their necks) and who left sterile areas with their cover gowns open, exposing their scrubs to possible contamination.
Kay Wynn, administrator of the Regional Surgicenter in Moline, says her facility was dinged during a November 2010 inspection for having an unqualified person overseeing its infection prevention program. "While our infection control lead has undergone advanced training, it was not the specific course required (by CMS) for certification," she explains in a statement released to the Quad-City Times.
Ms. Wynn says her facility partnered with a third-party organization as soon as she learned of the deficiency and takes the inspection's findings seriously. She's quick to point out that patient care was not compromised and her accredited facility had never before been cited for infection control issues. "Our staff has always been very careful to follow all required infection control procedures to insure our patients have the best possible outcomes," she adds.
Bill Bell, the Illinois Department of Public Health's division chief for healthcare facilities and programs, told the Chicago Tribune that the state's surgery centers are under increased scrutiny. He says state inspectors now trace patients as they move along the perioperative circuit instead of basing inspections on a facility's written policies and procedures. "We want people to know there is regulatory oversight of these types of facilities and that we are closely monitoring infection control."
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