Surgery Center Surgical Attire Rules: Q&A With Phenelle Segal of ICCS

By on 8:13 AM

On the discussion board of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA), an ASCA member writing on behalf of an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) posed a question concerning surgical attire.

A response from an ASC member referenced the recommended practices regarding surgical attire from the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), noting specifically that AORN recommends that "Surgical attire made of 100% cotton fleece should not be worn."

Another ASCA member noted that AORN's recommendations are not regulations and, therefore, do not necessarily need to be followed.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, president of Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS), a provider of infection-related services, including ASC infection control consulting, shared her thoughts on the topic.

Q: We have circulators and anesthesiologists who are wanting to wear their fleece jackets UNDER their PPE (personal protective equipment). Are there any regulations that cover this?

Phenelle Segal: I have just returned from a crazy run of consults for ASCs and hospital ORs due to surveys by CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). While there are healthcare workers who don't agree with AORN standards, state surveyors as well as accreditation agencies are hot on the heels of facilities that do not comply with "nationally recognized guidelines."

They are hitting particularly hard in several states with respect to surgical attire, including how and where scrubs are laundered, bouffant caps covering all hair, covering facial hair, and undergarments protruding from scrub sleeves and neckline.

If infection prevention designees do not "subscribe" to the practices that are listed in the surveyor's worksheet as "nationally recognized guidelines," expect a deficiency/citation. Surveyors are not interested in personal opinions.

ICCS services for ASCs include assistance with accreditation survey preparation and regulatory requirements (including, but not limited, to CMS, The Joint Commission, AAAHC, HFAP, DNV and AAAASF) and preparation of and assistance with corrective plans of action related to survey deficiencies. For more information about ICCS, visit www.iccs-home.com.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.