California Tightens Accreditation Requirements for Surgery Centers


Effective January 1, 2012, California law will impose additional requirements on the accreditation of ambulatory surgery centers. The same bill, SB 100, also addresses the issue of physician supervision of cosmetic laser procedures performed by nonphysicians.

Licensure Limbo -

For several years now, California surgery centers owned in whole or in part by physicians have been in a licensure limbo. Notwithstanding that California Health & Safety Code § 1204(b) provides: “physicians or dentists may, at their option, apply for licensure” of a surgical clinic, even though such clinics operated by physicians are not required to be licensed, the California Department of Public Health has declined to issue them licenses since early 2008. The DPH’s position is based on its interpretation of Capen v. Shewry (2007) 155 Cal.App.4th 378, which the DPH reads as completely removing from its jurisdiction any ambulatory surgery center in California that has any physician ownership. The DPH has maintained this position even though no language of the Capen decision requires it or even suggests it.

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