California's 750+ ASCs prepare to expand services for COVID-19 surge

California ASCs are gearing up to be used in new ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Ambulatory Surgery Association said in a March 30 press release.

The 750-plus ASCs in the state are preparing to serve patients who are typically only approved for treatment in a hospital setting by seeking waivers for expanded functions. With the appropriate waivers, ASCs could serve as triage, infusion or urgent care centers; provide staff and equipment to hospitals; or accommodate complex surgical cases, among other options.

In the meantime, centers operating under normal regulations and licensing restrictions are doing the following:

  • Evaluating supply and resource inventory
  • Conserving in-demand supplies including personal protective equipment
  • Coordinating response efforts with local hospitals and public health departments
  • Postponing all cases that can be safely delayed and prioritizing urgent procedures
  • Following CDC guidelines regarding patient screening, cleaning and infection control

"This crisis is requiring a comprehensive, coordinated response from the healthcare community," said CASA President Michelle George, MSN, RN. "We encourage all ASCs to stay in close communication with their local public health departments to identify how and when they can help fill the needs in their region. With the appropriate changes to licensing and regulations, and careful implementation, ASCs can quickly expand their services to help California 'meet this moment.'"

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