AAAASF Underscores Importance of Spore Testing as Part of its Patient Safety Initiatives

GURNEE, Ill. -- With the renewed industry-wide initiative to reduce the incidence of infections resulting from improperly sterilized equipment, the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities' (AAAASF) is reiterating the role of its Standard 220-040 in promoting patient safety. The AAAASF standard mandates that "a weekly spore test is performed and the results filed for each autoclave." AAAASF maintains that despite some industry discussion about how often spores should be tested, the association's recommendations for weekly spore testing conform with the recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations(JCAHO), Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), American Hospital Association (AHA), and many insurance companies.

"We recognize that our gold standard of 100 percent compliance may seem overly stringent at times, but healthcare professionals should not compromise on patient safety. While it may seem unrealistic to smaller facilities, like fertility clinics that make less frequent use of the autoclave, to conform with the standard, the AAAASF board has continually supported strict regulations to verify that every facility's sterilization process is destroying microorganisms and spores," said James A. Yates, MD, president of AAAASF.

Recognizing that compliance to the weekly spore testing may add additional operating costs to a facility, Confirm Monitoring System of Englewood, Colo. offers a discounted spore testing program which includes free reminders to ensure that accredited facilities don't miss a test and jeopardize their accreditation.

Participating AAAASF facilities receive written quarterly test reports, and a facility that is self-evaluating or preparing for an on-site inspection, can confidentially view and print their test results anytime by visiting the lab's Web site. For more information, visit the AAAASF site at

Source: American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc.