USA Today, KHN publish follow-up piece on surgery center safety — 5 insights

In a follow-up to its joint exposé on surgery center adverse events, USA Today and Kaiser Health News published another piece examining a series of patient deaths in 2014 at Little Rock, Ark.-based Kanis Endoscopy Center, highlighting the lack of standardized oversight on reporting patient deaths after surgery at ASCs nationwide. 

Here's what you should know:

1. Kaiser Health News and USA Today published a piece in March attempting to track quality at surgery centers.

2. In its Aug. 9 follow-up, USA Today and KHN examined a series of adverse events from 2014. In around 17 states, hospitals and ASCs aren't required to report patient deaths after care. In other states, healthcare providers are required to report incidents to the state, and in some cases such as Colorado, state agencies post incident rates online.

3. The Ambulatory Surgery Center Association responded to the story, criticizing the news reporting organizations for not including context on the number of safely performed procedures and making an unfair comparison between hospital and surgery center accrediting organizations.

4. In prepared remarks, ASCA said, "ASCA staff and members had multiple conversations with these reporters and their editors over the past few months. We encouraged them to produce a story that would more accurately reflect these news agencies' own codes of ethics by providing context referencing the outstanding outcomes millions of patients experienced in ASCs during the same time these cases occurred, as well as comparable statistics from other outpatient surgery providers. Disappointingly, KHN and [USA Today] choose to release this story instead."

5. Because KHN content can be freely reproduced in papers across the U.S., ASCA urged surgery center representatives to provide comments to local media organizations highlighting the high quality of care ASCs provide.

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