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Advancing ASCs: The Ambulatory Surgery Center Quality Collaboration (ASC QC)

07/22/2020

By Ann Shimek, MSN, BSN, RC, CASC, executive director, ASC QC

In my new role as executive director, I am often asked what the Ambulatory Surgery Center Quality Collaboration (ASC QC) is. 

The ASC QC is a nonprofit organization formed in 2006 primarily by several large ambulatory surgery center (ASC) management companies with the intent to develop quality measures that are specific to the ASC space. The ASC Quality Collaboration (ASC QC) accomplishes its goals through the combined efforts of the board of directors, the leadership group and our technical Expert Committee. The Joint Commission is an active participant with Pearl Darling, executive director, Ambulatory Care Services sitting as a board member and is on its strategic taskforce committee.

The companies believed that high quality care was being delivered in surgery centers across the country, but needed an avenue to demonstrate this. With experts from these companies, a Technical Expert Committee was formed to develop clinical quality measures. The measures were originally developed with a comprehensive pilot study that included validity and reliability testing and were approved by the National Quality Forum (NQF). The measures included:

  • ASC-1 patient burns
  • ASC-2 patient fall within the ASC
  • ASC-3 Wrong Site, Wrong Side, Wrong Patient, Wrong Procedure, Wrong Implant
  • ASC-4 All-Cause Hospital Transfer/Admission 

Today, nearly 1,600 ASCs collect this data and the quality metrics are reported publicly on the ASC QC website.

Continuous Quality Tracking
When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) developed the ASC Quality Reporting Program, it adopted these same measures for mandatory reporting in 2012. Since then, CMS has retired these measures because of the consistent high-quality care that ASCs provide, and the results did not show statistical significance.

The ASC QC, however, would like to continue to report on these measures and encourages CMS to require hospital outpatient departments to report on the measures, so we can compare data from the different sites of service.

We continue to develop and test quality measures and are dedicated to ensuring patients who utilize surgery centers for their care receive high quality care. We also continue to expand our membership and now include:

  • accreditation bodies
  • industry leaders
  • vendors who are involved in the ASC community 

As we continue to evolve, we are currently working to develop a technical platform for our quality reporting which will allow the ASC QC to continue to share our story and enhance the patient experience in surgery centers. This will increase our visibility in the health care industry and help make us the correct site of service for outpatient procedures.

We’re looking for more quality-minded ASC organizations to join us in our quest to develop data on the strong patient experiences in outpatient surgery centers.” For questions or how you can participate in the ASC QC, “please do not hesitate to at ashimekco@gmail.com.

Ann Shimek has been in the health care industry primarily in and around the operating room for over 30 years. She has worked in an independent ASC, a large management company for surgical hospitals and ASCs where she provided clinical oversight. Shimek became the executive director for the ASC QC in 2019.