4 COVID-19 testing insights for ASCs

Four things for ASC leaders to know about COVID-19 testing:

1. Stacy Danahy, RN, regional director of operations for Raleigh, N.C.-based Compass Surgical Partners, told Becker's ASC Review that COVID-19 testing protocols vary among the company's nine active ASCs. Some ASCs followed the lead of hospital partners and opted to test all patients, while others decided against universal testing "because ultimately, you can't control whether somebody's going to self-isolate" while awaiting results, Ms. Danahy said. Plus, testing access was flawed.

2. Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates secured a contract with Quest Diagnostics to provide all of its centers with access to tests, according to CMO Dan Murrey, MD.

"For aerosol-generating procedures in particular, and for patients who are at high risk, we test them ahead of surgery. As a result, we have been able to keep anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 out of our facilities," Dr. Murrey told Becker's. "We make sure to have sufficient PPE and manage case flow so that we don't have to disrupt any care due to lack of COVID-19 testing or PPE."

3. Alfonso del Granado, administrator of Covenant High Plains Surgery Center in Lubbock, Texas, is a proponent of preoperatively testing ASC patients for COVID-19. The center sends all of its patients to its hospital partner's lab for COVID-19 testing using the Abbott ID Now rapid polymerase chain reaction tests. Most patients are tested one to two days before their procedure.

4. John Fanburg, a managing member and chair of Brach Eichler's healthcare law practice, serves as counsel to the New Jersey Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, as well as to seven ASCs in the state. He said reopening guidelines for New Jersey ASCs — including the requirement that each patient undergoes COVID-19 testing before surgery — create serious logistical challenges.

"Pre-treatment testing is not being required in other healthcare settings, such as dentistry (where droplets are rampant) and other non-ASC settings," Mr. Fanburg said. "The question, then, is why is it required in an ASC setting?"

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