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ASCRS endorses ASGE guidelines for safety in gastrointestinal endoscopy unit

American Society for Gastrointestinal EndoscopyThe Executive Council has approved endorsement of specific guidelines for safety in the gastrointestinal endoscopy unit developed by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).

“In the absence of nationally-recognized guidelines on safety in the gastrointestinal endoscopy unit, endoscopy units are increasingly being cited by surveyors for not being in compliance with sterility and staffing guidelines set forth through nationally-recognized guidelines for operating rooms,” ASGE President Dr. Kenneth K. Wang said in seeking the ASCRS endorsement.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) unwillingness to distinguish between endoscopy procedure rooms and operating rooms in the Ambulatory Surgical Center Conditions for Coverage has also exacerbated this issue,” he added. “In response to these concerns, ASGE has developed an endoscopy-specific guideline, Standards for Safety in the Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Unit, by which endoscopy units can be evaluated during their surveys by accrediting organizations, states and CMS. The ASGE Governing Board has approved this guideline and requests your society’s endorsement of the guideline to demonstrate that there is broad support of the recommendations provided.”

The overall risk of transmission of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) during the performance of endoscopic procedures is estimated to be very low. However, two recent highly publicized outbreaks where the transmission of infectious agents was related to GI endoscopy have highlighted the need to address potential gaps along the endoscopy care continuum that could impact patient safety.

Over the past two years, surveyors have called into question accepted practices at many accredited endoscopy units seeking re-accreditation. Many of these issues relate to the Ambulatory Surgical Center Conditions for Coverage set forth by CMS and the lack of distinction between the sterile operating room and the endoscopy setting.

The detailed ASGE guidelines cover facilities management, infection control, staffing, and endoscopic sedation.