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Consensus Guidelines for Facilities Performing Outpatient Procedures

Evidence Over Ideology

Levy, Barbara S., MD; Ness, Debra L., MS; Weinberger, Steven E., MD

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003058
Contents: Health Services Research: Current Commentary
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In policy and law, regulation of abortion is frequently treated differently from other health services. The safety of abortion is similar to that of other types of office- and clinic-based procedures, and facility requirements should be based on assuring high-quality, safe performance of all such procedures. False concerns for patient safety are being used as a justification for promoting regulations that specifically target abortion. The Project on Facility Guidelines for the Safe Performance of Primary Care and Gynecology Procedures in Offices and Clinics was undertaken by clinicians, consumers, and representatives from accrediting bodies to review the available evidence and guidelines that inform safe delivery of outpatient care. Our overall objective was to develop evidence-informed consensus guidelines to promote health care quality, safety, and accessibility. Our consensus determined that requiring facilities performing office-based procedures, including abortion, to meet standards beyond those currently in effect for all general medical offices and clinics is unjustified based on an analysis of available evidence. No safety concerns were identified.

Requiring facilities performing office-based procedures, including abortion, to meet standards beyond those currently in effect for all general medical offices and clinics is unjustified based on an analysis of available evidence.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and National Partnership for Women & Families, Washington, DC; and the American College of Physicians, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Corresponding author: Barbara S. Levy, MD, Vice President, Health Policy, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024-2188; email: blevy@acog.org.

Supported by staff at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program at the University of California, San Francisco, and the National Partnership for Women & Families. Support for the costs of the Project was provided by these organizations, as well as by an anonymous U.S.-based, 501(c)(3), charitable foundation. The foundation had no influence on, or involvement in, the Project process, meeting, document creation, or other activities. In-kind support for the Project was provided by the members of the Procedures Working Group and the organizations represented on the planning committee.

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

The authors thank Bonnie Scott Jones and Molly Battistelli, of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), University of California, San Francisco, as well as Sarah Horvath, MD, and Jennie Shaw, MPH, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, for their assistance in the drafting process.

The Procedures Working Group list is in Appendix 1, available online at http://links.lww.com/AOG/B234.

Each author has confirmed compliance with the journal’s requirements for authorship.

Peer reviews and author correspondence are available at http://links.lww.com/AOG/B235.

© 2019 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.