Office Surgery Moratorium: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Urges End to Florida's Action

New York, NY (August 16, 2000) — The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the leading organization of board-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery, today urged an end to the Florida Board of Medicine's moratorium on office-based surgery. "ASAPS supports the efforts of Florida surgeons to reach agreement with the Board on measures to further protect patient safety. The moratorium does not appear to serve the public interest and should be lifted while discussions between the Board and Florida medical community continue," said ASAPS President Daniel C. Morello, MD, of White Plains, NY.

"The Florida Board is rightly investigating the incidents that have occurred in several office-based surgical facilities over recent months," acknowledged Dr. Morello, "but issuing a general moratorium is like throwing out the baby with the bath water." Morello said that ASAPS supports closing facilities that don't maintain the standards required for accreditation or licensure by a national or state agency, and prohibiting operations by doctors who are unqualified or proven negligent. "But don't set back the progress of modern healthcare by denying patients access to accredited ambulatory facilities that provide some of the safest and most affordable surgical care available today," said Dr. Morello.

Morello, who is a past president of the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), the largest accrediting agency of ambulatory surgery facilities in the nation, says that the popularity of outpatient surgery is growing. Most insurance companies now accept accredited ambulatory facilities as equivalent to hospitals for reimbursement of covered procedures, recognizing their proven safety and cost effectiveness.

ASAPS has been active in providing state boards with recommended guidelines for office-based surgery, and has gone on record supporting mandatory facility accreditation. The majority of the 1450 plastic surgeons nationwide who are members of ASAPS perform a large percentage of their surgeries in accredited ambulatory facilities. "It's easy to say that ASAPS wants to see the Florida moratorium lifted because it is in the best interests of our members who practice in that state. But the fact is that ASAPS members, because they are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, can perform cosmetic surgery anywhere they choose -- in an office-based facility or an accredited hospital. ASAPS also represents the interests of nearly 5 million Americans who elected to have cosmetic plastic surgery last year, and the millions more who hope to have cosmetic surgery in the future," Dr. Morello said. "Cosmetic plastic surgery is available to so many people today largely because accredited office-based surgical facilities have made it both safe and affordable."

All surgery, whether performed in an office facility or the hospital, carries some risk. Morello believes that Florida's problems can be solved without resorting to a ban on office surgery. "With the cooperation of all members of the Florida medical community, meaningful policies can be proposed to provide the added measure of safety that the public, physicians and the Board demand."

About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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