Same-day surgery centers have problems enforcing infection control

If you're having surgery at a same-day surgery center, you might want to ask your provider to wash his or her hands: A study published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association found such facilities often have serious problems with infection control and commonly fail to ensure that staff members wash hands, wear gloves and clean blood glucose meters.

Based on state inspections at 68 centers in Maryland, North Carolina and Oklahoma, two-thirds had at least one infection control lapse, while more than half--57 percent--were cited for deficiencies.

The unannounced inspections occurred in three of seven states that volunteered for the study and were conducted by surveyors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The surveyors looked at hand washing, injection safety, medication handling, equipment reprocessing, environmental cleaning and handling of blood glucose monitoring equipment.

Forty-six facilities had at least one problem, with 12 having issues in three or more of the five infection control categories. Among the most common problems: using single-dose medication vials for more than one patient, not reprocessing equipment properly and improper handling of blood glucose monitoring. The study did not look at whether these issues led to more infection.

For more information:
- here's the study's abstract in JAMA
- read this Associated Press article via the New York Times