Accreditation, Board Certification, State Regulation: Elements in Safe Office Based Surgery
Patient safety in surgery has long been important in the lengthy education and training of surgeons. Plastic surgeons typically have 4 years of medical school, 5 years of general surgical residency and additional years of plastic surgical residency or fellowship. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is a national organization that emphasizes patient safety in many ways. One of them is the requirement for ongoing specific patient-safety education, another is the requirement that member surgeons only operate in accredited surgical facilities.
ACCREDITATION is the process which recognizes that the facility meets detailed standards. The process is similar to that for hospitals and out-patient surgical centers, but tailored to the size and scope of the office facilities. The process includes complying with standards (architectural, equipment, staffing training, reporting, etc.). Our center is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc. (AAAASF.org). JCAHO, AOA and AAAHC are other similar organizations. As of 2007 South Carolina state law requires accreditation by one of these national organizations.
BOARD CERTIFICATION is a voluntary process of evaluating a physician's education and training. Members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are required to maintain board certification. Dr. Graham achieved board certification in plastic surgery in 1992. He exceeds continuing medical education standards in his specialty. Patients treated in our office surgical facility have the additional benefit of a board certified MD anesthesiologist for their procedures.
STATE REGULATION has been encouraged by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, as they believe patient safety will be enhanced. The South Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners put in place state regulations several years ago, but these were strengthened when full accreditation was required for all medical offices providing general anesthesia or deep sedation (level II & III facilities). Regulations are contained in statue Chapter 81-96. Additional regulations are produced by DHEC.