Random inspections by the N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services of 91 surgical practices and ambulatory surgical centers have revealed concerning findings including 25 of the facilities posing "immediate jeopardy" to patient safety, according to a report on NJ.com and a report from the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.
The inspections were conducted between Aug. 2009 and Feb. 2011. The inspection team visited 40 unlicensed surgical practices (New Jersey does not license facilities with only one operating room) and 51 licensed ASCs.
Of the 40 unlicensed surgical practices inspected, 17 were found to be in "immediate jeopardy," which resulted in seven closing temporary. Of the 51 licensed ASCs inspected, eight were in "immediate jeopardy," which resulted in two closing temporarily.
"Immediate jeopardy" is a "violation which is defined as noncompliance with established rules that has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury, harm, impairment or death to a patient," according to the NJHCQI report.
The N.J. DOH also found that 49 of the 91 facilities inspected did not meet the standards to participate in Medicare.
Violations found during inspections included the following, according to the NJHCQI report:
- Not having mandated emergency equipment and medications on site
- No tracking of controlled and regulated medications such as narcotics
- Physicians and staff not having current licenses and credentials
- Not cleaning or sanitizing surgical instruments correctly
- Using single use items more than once, on more than one patient
Larry Trenk, president of the New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgical Centers, was quoted by the NJ.com report as calling the inspection findings "concerning," but also said he would "hesitate to use these outliers as a barometer for the rest of the industry."
Read the NJ.com report about the New Jersey surgery center inspections.
View the NJHCQI's "New Jersey Ambulatory Surgery Center and Surgical Practice Transparency Report" (pdf).
Read more about New Jersey ASCs:
- Legislation Introduced in New Jersey Concerning Licensure of Surgical Practices
- Proposed Rules Issued Requiring All New Jersey Physician Surgical Practices to Be Inspected and Registered
- Surgical Care Affiliates Enters Into Development Agreement With New Jersey's Saint Barnabas Health Care System