Ambulatory surgery centers performed essential surgeries during the initial phase of the coronavirus pandemic with patients facing virtually no heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, according to a survey conducted by the ASC Quality Collaboration (ASC QC).
The ASC QC said 16 of 84,446 patients who received care at 709 surgery centers tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of their procedures, which the organization characterized as "an infinitesimally small infection rate of just 0.02 percent." Only two of the 16 patients required hospitalization, primarily for respiratory issues, and no patients experienced cardiac issues, blood clotting or kidney failure. There is no way of actually knowing when or how the 16 patients became infected, notes the ASC QC.
The survey focused on eight states, three of which were experiencing high rates of COVID-19 infection in the general population: Louisiana, New Jersey and New York. The other five states surveyed were Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
"This data confirms that ASCs can continue to perform essential surgeries without putting patients at greater risk of contracting COVID-19," says Ann Shimek, executive director of the ASC QC, an independent, nonprofit organization established by leaders in the ASC community. "With the additional safety measures ASCs have in place today — including heightened preoperative screenings, additional sanitary measures and air filtration protocols — the facilities can maintain a safe environment to treat patients, while keeping the professionals providing their care protected."Joe Paone