Delaware Finalizes ASC RN Circulator Rule

Publish Date: November 24, 2014


In 2012 the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health issued proposed revisions to the regulations governing Free Standing Surgical Centers, 16 DE Admin. Code 4405. AORN commented urging the Division of Public Health to add the language from section 7.8 of the repealed regulations to the proposed regulations, which required a registered nurse to be present as a circulating nurse in each operating room during operative procedures. At that time, AORN encouraged the Division of Public Health, at the very least, to retain its registered nurse circulator requirement for patients undergoing procedures in Delaware free standing surgical centers under general anesthesia and moderate and deep sedation. One Perioperative Registered Nurse Circulator Dedicated to Every Patient Undergoing a Surgical or Other Invasive Procedure, AORN’s board approved Position Statement, was submitted with the comments.

On July 1, 2014 the Department of Health and Social Services resubmitted the proposed revisions for public comment. At that time, AORN submitted a letter during the public comment period supporting the proposed rule changes. The Division of Public Health changed the proposed regulations to include the following language in section 6.8.6 “A registered nurse, qualified by education and experience in operating room nursing, shall be present as a circulating nurse in each operating room where moderate/deep/general anesthesia/sedation is administered during operative procedures.”

On November 1, 2014 the Division of Public Health released the final regulations, which include the language AORN supported in the proposed regulations. The final regulations are available online and the RN circulator language can be found in section 6.8.5.

AORN Government Affairs is pleased that the Delaware Division of Public Health put patient safety first in its final regulations as Delaware surgery patients are still guaranteed an RN circulator for procedures involving moderate and deep sedation and general anesthesia in Delaware ASCs.