The Board of Ambulatory Surgery Certification (BASC) has created a new certification program for infection preventionists who work in ASCs. The program was three years in the making.

ASCs that are Medicare-certified must employ a licensed healthcare professional who oversees infection control duties for the facility.

“Right now, no one mandates the certification of infection preventionists, but if that were to occur, we need to have something that they could take to fill that requirement,” says Gina Throneberry, RN, MBA, CNOR, CASC, executive director of BASC in Alexandria, VA. “We felt that since Medicare and the accrediting bodies place such a high emphasis on infection prevention standards, this certification program would be an effective way to show these bodies that the individual is committed to being current on infection prevention and control standards and rules.”

Infection preventionists can register online for the first certification exam from Aug. 1-31, 2018. The first exam will be offered in October. There is a handbook on BASC’s website that can be downloaded to see if a person meets the prerequisites to sit for the exam (www.aboutcaip.org).

“If they meet the prerequisites, then they can choose a testing period,” Throneberry explains. “This year, it’s Oct. 1-31.”

Those who pass the exam will receive a three-year certification. ASC infection preventionists can prepare through seminars or webinars on infection prevention. BASC developed the infection preventionists certification program to fill a need, Throneberry notes.

“Having infection preventionists obtain and maintain certification will allow them to keep on top of the information needed to deliver high-quality patient care,” she says. “This is a topic that’s not going away. It’s on everyone’s radar, so just showing how they have obtained this certification says a lot for that person and that facility.”

Before the BASC certification program, there were no options specifically for ASC infection preventionists. Other infection prevention certification programs were designed for hospitals, she says. “We thought that since infection prevention is always a hot topic, this is something we need to see in our industry,” Throneberry says. “We did research, and decided to go through with this.”

BASC sought help from the same outside testing vendor the organization had used when creating the certified administrator surgery center credential. A job analysis task force composed of infection preventionists was formed.

“They wrote a survey to ask members which activities and responsibilities an infection preventionist in an ASC manages,” she says. “We had a good response from that survey, and they took it and made a content outline with five different topic areas.”

The exam-writing committee then wrote questions for an exam. The certification content and exam will help ASC infection preventionists stay current on infection prevention practices and guidelines, Throneberry notes.

“In our industry, things do change over time.”