One of the biggest mistakes you can make when choosing an outpatient surgery center is to simply go to the closest or largest facility in your area. To make the swiftest recovery possible, it is important to select a facility that is best suited to your particular needs.
Types of Surgery Centers
Individuals are not always able to choose where their surgery is performed, but it is important to understand the different types of outpatient surgery facilities.
- Hospital outpatient centers are hospital-owned and operated facilities that specialize in outpatient surgery, usually located on hospital grounds.
- Freestanding surgery centers are traditionally owned by a group of physicians or a for-profit national company. They often specialize in a particular type of surgery.
- Physicians’ offices sometimes allow minor procedures to be performed there. For example, dermatologists often do skin biopsies and general physicians can operate on benign cysts in their offices.
Questions to Ask
Seek referrals to qualified surgery facilities from trusted doctors and friends. Also, be sure to ask the following questions about any place being considered.
- Is the center licensed or certified as a medical facility by your state?
- Is the center accredited by the Joint Commission (www.jointcommission.org)?
- Will anesthesia or sedation be required, and if so, is a trained, board-certified anesthesiology specialist available to administer it?
- Does the center have emergency provisions, like emergency cardiac equipment, bottled oxygen and a staff trained in CPR in case of surgical complications?
- Does the center have a transfer agreement with a hospital to handle any emergencies that may occur during surgery?
- Is the operating physician trained to do the specific type of surgery that you require? How many similar procedures has the doctor performed?
- Is information on the procedure and its risks readily available?
- Is precise information about costs of the procedure and other related fees available prior to receiving treatment?
- Are both the doctor and the facility’s staff approachable with answers to these and all of your other questions?
Keep in mind that all surgery comes with risk, and may not always be your only treatment option. Unless your condition is a life-threatening emergency, take the time to consider getting a second opinion or explore other treatment alternatives. In general, if there are both medical and surgical treatment options, try the medical options first.