14 GI-Driven ASCs to Know
A successful ASC requires the cooperation of all members of its staff — from physicians to administrators to nurses and ancillary staff. In the field of gastroenterology, this sense of teamwork permeates through flourishing centers.
Here is a list of gastroenterology-driven ASCs and a few of the reasons why they have been so successful.
Gail Wells, administrator and nursing manager for the Berks Center, says that the organization’s success is due to the “great group of people who work here.” Ms. Wells describes the environment of the facility as “a culture of leadership.” “We have great leadership,” she says. “It works from the top down.”
Eastside Endoscopy Center (St. Clair Shores, Mich.). Eastside Endoscopy Center opened in 1996 as the first endoscopy center in Lower Michigan. Currently, EEC has six procedure rooms in two locations and specialize in general GI procedures, including upper and lower endoscopy and routine care. The ASC 16 physicians performed 11,000 procedures in 2008. In addition to performing endoscopies, EEC hosts meetings for primary care physicians on GI problems as well as community education events. It also provides CME activities for its medical staff twice a year.
Fernando Bermudez, MD, medical director of EEC, says that the success of this ASC is measured in more than just revenue. “We have good control of our practice,” he says. “Because we own the center, we can determine how to run [it].”
The staff and physicians make safety and patient satisfaction a top priority.
“If we find an issue, we address it quickly,” says Dr. Bermudez. “If there is no issue, we ask ourselves ‘what else can we do?’” In 2006 and 2007, EEC received the Press Ganey Summit Award for 99 percent patient satisfaction.
Beth Miller, administrator of EEC, says that the center is constantly looking for new ways to prove that it is a center of excellence. “We’ve always been in the forefront,” says Ms. Miller, the first CASC-certified administrator in Michigan. In addition, EEC was the first ASC in Michigan to receive a recognition award from the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy for quality and patient safety.
Eastside Endoscopy Center (Bellevue, Wash.). Eastside Endoscopy Center opened its doors in 1995, and its team of 11 physicians performs around 10,400 procedures annually. The center specializes in upper endoscopies and colonscopies, which are performed in three procedure rooms. Eastside Endoscopy also uses the capsule endoscopy procedure in which patients swallow a capsule containing a camera that transmits pictures of the intestinal tract that can then be downloaded and reviewed by the physician. Eastside Endoscopy was the first ASC in Washington to be accredited by the AAAHC.
In addition to performing endoscopies, Eastside Endoscopy provides outreach and colon cancer education to the community. It is a sponsor for the Mercer Island Half Marathon for Colon Cancer Awareness, and this year it is raffling off a free colonoscopy for charity.
Michelle Steele, clinical nurse manager of Eastside Endoscopy, credits the success of the center to an excellent working relationship between physicians and staff. Because of this comfortable relationship, the center’s staff uses humor to make patients more comfortable in what is often a pretty uncomfortable situation, according to Ms. Steele.
“They have a great rapport with one another,” she says, “and this spills over to how we deal with patients.”
The Endoscopy Center at Gateway (Kingston, Pa.). The Endoscopy Center at Gateway specializes in endoscopy procedures related to GI, including colonscopies and EGDs. Of the five GI physicians in the Kingston region, three work at the facility. The physicians perform around 7,000 procedures in two procedure rooms. In addition, the ASC had eight recovery beds for its patients. The center is accredited by AAAHC and is recognized nationally through the ASGE for promoting quality GI endoscopy care.
The physicians at the center have well-established reputations in the community, and the retention rate of staff is high. Both of these result in a high level of patient satisfaction, which the ASC evaluates based on monthly customer surveys. According to Denise Calomino, administrator of The Endoscopy Center at Gateway, if a survey comes back with an area for improvement, the facility addresses it right away. In addition, the staff is kept up-to-date on changes in policies, such as billing and coding, so that they can maintain a high level of efficiency. Also, the center reaches out to its referring physicians to make sure that it addresses their needs as well.
Ms. Calomino notes that a being a single-specialty center helps the staff maintain its efficiency. Also, she says that the center “benchmarks everything.”
“This is so we know where we stand,” she says, “and it helps us understand our business.”
Most importantly, Ms. Calomino credits the organization’s success with making sure it stays on top of patient care and maintaining a positive work environment.
“The staff is happy to be here,” she says. “Our patients can tell that. Overall, it’s a great place to work.”
Endoscopy Center of Western New York (Williamsville, N.Y.). Endoscopy Center of Western New York opened in March 2004 and is run by Gastroenterology Associates. The ASC performs 8,500 procedures annually and specializes in endoscopic retrograde cholangio- pancreatography, upper endoscopy/EGD, colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy. The center has four procedure rooms. The Endoscopy Center of Western New York enjoys strong and positive relationships with both local hospital systems in Buffalo, with the physicians providing full-time clinical GI coverage for four of the hospitals in the area.
G.I. Associates Endoscopy Center (Wausau, Wisc.). G.I. Associates Endoscopy Center opened as a single-specialty ASC in Sept. 2008. It is wholly physician-owned. The center received its accreditation by the AAAHC in Dec. 2008. The three physicians on its staff perform endoscopies in its four procedure rooms.
Cathy Rohling, operating officer of G.I. Associates Endoscopy Center, says that the single-specialty nature of the center is one of its biggest assets. She also credits her great staff for its success, among other aspects of running the ASC.
“We use professional benchmarking tools, which have been a great help [in running our center],” she says.
Lone Star Endoscopy Center (Keller, Texas). Lone Star Endoscopy Center is a freestanding endoscopic ASC developed by the physician partners of Texas Digestive Disease Associates. The eleven physicians at the ASC perform approximately 8,000 procedures annually. The center has one operating room and four procedure rooms and specializes in colonoscopies, EGD and flexible sigmoidoscopy. Lone Star opened in May 2006 and aims to serve its patients with compassion, quality and proven technology.
Long Island Center for Digestive Health (Garden City, N.Y.). Long Island Center for Digestive Health provides endoscopies and colonoscopies in a comfortable atmosphere. Its team of seven physicians performs between 14 GI-Driven ASCs to Know By Renée Tomcanin 46 visit www.beckersasc.com 6,000-6,500 cases annually. This single-specialty ASC opened its doors in June 2006 and was developed by Gastroenterology Associates. It is licensed by the state of New York, is Medicare-certified and is accredited by the AAAHC.
Leonard Stein, MD, medical director of the Long Island Center for Digestive Health, credits the facility’s skilled staff of nurses, technicians and anesthesiologists for the center’s success.
“They provide the patient with a safe, careful place to have procedures,” he says. In addition, he finds that a positive experience at the center can encourage a patient’s friends and family members to come in for colon cancer screening.
“If we can provide our patients with a positive experience, we feel that we can reach out to those who need to be screened but have not been,” he says.
Michigan Endoscopy Center (Farm ington Hill, Mich.). Michigan Endoscopy Center specializes in all types of GI procedures, including colonoscopy, upper endoscopy and EGD. MEC has six operating rooms and 16 physicians who perform approximately 16,900 procedures annually. According to the mission statement of the center, MEC is dedicated to promoting a high quality of endoscopic services by maintaining an environment that is conducive to the provision of safe, efficient endoscopic procedures by ensuring that safe and effective equipment and supplies are available for physicians and staff, by maintaining relationships with qualified, skilled physicians and staff and by providing an effective program of quality assurance and quality improvement.
Brien Fausone, administrator of MEC, says that a key to the center’s success is the highly-trained and experienced clinical staff. “It’s an all-star team of clinicians,” Mr. Fausone says.
Physicians Endoscopy Center (Houston, Texas). Physicians Endoscopy Center is dedicated to providing its patients with the highest standard of endoscopic services available in an efficient, cost-effective environment. Its team of physicians performs around 1,100 procedures monthly in its eight procedure rooms. The organization specializes in endoscopies and colonscopies. In addition, it provides colon cancer screenings. The facility is designed with the patient’s comfort, privacy and safety in mind, and relaxing music and aromatherapy are used to minimize the anxiety patients may feel. In addition, the ASC offers Saturday hours for those who cannot come in during the week.
The facility is technologically advanced, and recently purchased state-of-theart endoscopes and high definition televisions for the procedure rooms. It is accredited by the AAAHC. For Colon Cancer Awareness Month, PEC offers gifts to those who come in for screenings, and the staff provides colon cancer outreach to primary care physicians in the area.
Staff members are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Past medical directors and the current administrator have been recognized by the community for their achievements.
Pioneer Valley Surgicenter (Springfield, Mass.). The Pioneer Valley Surgicenter specializes in gastroenterology procedures and also performs ENT, orthopedics, general surgery and some plastics. The facility’s 17 physicians perform around 7,200 procedures and 2,000 operating room cases annually in its four procedure rooms and two operating rooms. Physicians at the center work as a team to provide the best patient care possible. The goals of Pioneer Valley are to provide outpatient surgical services in a non-hospital setting in order to decrease or curtail spiraling healthcare costs, to provide quality, individualized patient care in a comfortable, nonthreatening atmosphere and to provide a service of convenience, availability and efficiency for both patients and physicians in the community.
Linda Rahm, administrator of Pioneer Valley Surgicenter, says the ASC is successful because the doctors are actively involved in issues related to patient satisfaction.
“The staff is highly trained and put caring for the patient first,” she says.
Skyline Endoscopy Center (Loveland, Colo.). Skyline Endoscopy Center began operation in Dec. 2004. The center provides open-access endoscopies, and it performs approximately 3,800 procedures annually. The center specializes in colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and upper endoscopy (gastroscopy). Currently there are four physicians on staff.
The center provides outstanding patient care and customer service as measured by its patient satisfaction surveys. According to Catherine Sayers, director of central operations of Pinnacle III, “Much of the patient satisfaction can be attributed to the dedicated and enthusiastic staff; only one staff member has left in the four-plus years it has been open. The center has been financially sound since the day it opened its doors and has consistently produced a 26-32 percent profit margin.”
Surgery Center of Joliet (Joliet, Ill.). The Surgery Center of Joliet opened in 2008. The facility houses two procedure rooms, two endoscopy rooms and three operating rooms. To accommodate the rising capacity of the endoscopy rooms, the center purchased a portable endoscopy machine Sign up for the Becker’s ASC Review E-Weekly at www.beckersasc.com 47 which allows one of the operating rooms to be used for endoscopic procedures. The ASC performs more than 3,000 procedures annually and specializes in colonoscopy, EGD and upper and lower GI diagnostics and screenings. In addition, it performs feeding tube insertions and hemorrhoid banding. Of the approximately 35 physicians on staff, there are five who specialize in endoscopy and an additional 3-4 general surgeons who perform endoscopies. In addition to GI procedures, the center has practices in ENT, general surgery, pain management, plastics, podiatry and orthopedics.
Marge Schillaci, administrator of the Surgery Center of Joliet, credits the success of the ASC to her skilled and efficient staff. She notes that the facility has a high level of patient satisfaction due to its surgeons and recovery room staff.
“Feedback from customers who have had procedures done in the hospital say that it is no comparison to the care they receive at the center,” she says.
In addition, she says that the pre-op, operating and post-op rooms are all very close in proximity, which always for a quick turnover time in the procedure rooms and requires less movement of the patients. Most patients are under intravenous sedation, which is administered by a skilled staff of nurses. There is no staff turnover at the center.
“Surgeons are very satisfied with their patient care,” Ms. Schillaci says, which is a result of the loyal and skilled staff. Also, at least one member of the staff is assigned to clean scopes during the day, which speeds up procedure times.
Ms. Schillaci mentions that the surgery center was able to satisfy its lease early and is keeping the center equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. In addition, due to increasing case volume, it is looking to purchase new scopes and cleaning equipment to help the ASC run as efficiently as possible.
United Medical Endoscopy Center (Lancaster, Calif.). The 100 percent physician- owned United Medical Endoscopy Center specializes in all types of GI procedures, including upper endoscopy, biopsies and endoscopic ultrasound in its two endoscopy rooms. In another procedure room, pain management services are provided such as epidurals, lumbar pokes and fluoroscopy. The ASC performed approximately 12,500 procedures in 2008.
Dr. Raman Patel, president of the United Medical Endoscopy Center, credits the center’s success to his very experienced team of physicians, nurses and administrators.
“Teamwork has made a difference,” Dr. Patel says. “[Our staff] believes in us, and that makes a big difference in running a smooth operation.”
The ASC invited all private practice gastroenterologists in the area to join in a partnership with the center. “All shareholders are on the board of directors, and each has an equal voice in management,” says Dr. Patel. “Nobody takes advantage of anybody; the first [priority] is the clinic.”
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