Licensing bureau alters surgical centers' rules

The state's licensing bureau has amended several regulations that apply to ambulatory surgical centers, including injection practices and the administration of anesthesia medication.

"The licensing bureau is trying to get emergency regulations that would require staff at ambulatory surgical centers to follow manufacturer's instructions for medication and equipment use,'' said Steve George, a spokesman for the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

The amendments, which were signed Thursday by Gov. Jim Gibbons, will remain in effect at least through July 4. To become a permanent part of the state's administrative code, they would need approval from the state's administrative staff and Legislative Counsel Bureau, George said.

The amendments were proposed in response to the unsafe practices documented at Southern Nevada ambulatory surgery centers, including the use of single-dose vials on multiple patients and the reuse of syringes on a single patient or multiple patients.

"It's basically codifying what should be common knowledge," George said.

The state's Bureau of Licensure and Certification has documented:

• Staff administering single-dose medications to multiple patients and the reuse of syringes at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada at 700 Shadow Lane.

• The administering of single-dose vials of anesthesia medication on multiple patients at Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center.

• An anesthesiologist reusing syringes to administer medications to multiple patients and the use of single-dose medication vials for multiple patients at the Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Center.