Home E-Weekly March 13, 2018

Report Portrays New Jersey ASCs as Unsafe and Unregulated

Published: March 13, 2018

Investigative Report COULD THERE BE MORE? An investigative report uncovered dozens of deaths at New Jersey ASCs and suggests there could be more.

More than 50 patients have died at New Jersey ambulatory surgical centers and more than a thousand patients have become comatose or suffered serious preventable injuries since the state began safety reporting in 2008, but that might be the tip of the iceberg according to a newspaper investigation that found that only about half of the state's same-day surgery facilities — the licensed ones — reported those numbers to the state.

The story in The Record not only questions the safety of New Jersey's ASCs, but also explores the patchy regulatory framework on reporting deaths and other sentinel events.

With 298 ambulatory surgery centers that perform nearly 1 million procedures each year, New Jersey has the 6th most ASCs in the country. Between September 2008 and September 2017, the report found 52 deaths and 1,200 adverse events by examining public records.

But those numbers don't include data from single-OR facilities, which make up about half of New Jersey ASCs, which aren't held to the same regulations and reporting requirements as ASCs with more than 1 OR. That could change next year, the "One Room Bill" takes effect and all ASCs in New Jersey will be subject to the same regulatory framework.

Richard Abowitz

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