NTTC Surgery Center CEO speaks on cultivating a team prepared for change

Neeraja Kikkeri is the CEO of North Texas Team Care Surgery Center in Mesquite.

Ms. Kikkeri will speak at Becker’s ASC Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker’s is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference on Oct. 27-29 in Chicago.

To learn more and register, click here.

Question: What is the smartest thing you've done in the last year to set your organization up for success? 

Neeraja Kikkeri: I’ve hired the best and the brightest people.The right people! I’ve gotten rid of the people who pull us down and replaced them with people who are all great people on our team.

Q: What are you most excited about right now and what makes you nervous? 

NK: I’m excited to see the ASC space grow and meet more needs of an educated public patient population. Meaning, more people will use the ASC as their choice of facility versus a hospital. I’m a bit nervous about more government intervention and regulations that make it increasingly difficult to focus on patient care. It’s not about providing data. We must always think and care for the patient first. 

Q: How are you thinking about growth over the next 12 months? 

NK: Our growth continues as we educate employers and consumers about bundled pricing and its advantages. We are also educating surrounding surgeons into this model and recruitment with that.

Q: What will healthcare executives and leaders need to be effective leaders for the next five years? 

NK: We need to be able to have the right team so that whatever challenges we face in the next five years can and will be handled. No one expected COVID, but our executive team did everything to pay our staff — some even cut their pay to continue to pay our hourly folks — and we did not let go of anyone during that time. In fact, shortly afterward we hired more people. We should all be prepared for change and the challenges that come with it.  

Q: What is your strategy for recruiting and retaining great teams? 

NK: First and foremost, they must be a team player. Negative Nellies quickly find themselves either quitting or getting fired. We have a great benefits package, good lifestyle and we work on creating flexible schedules. We also make an effort in recognizing each person individually so they know they are as important as the next. The right people on the team do the right things and do what they are capable of and more, regardless of any incentive system you put in place.

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