11 ASC Administrators Discuss How Their Centers Stand Out

Here 11 ambulatory surgery center administrators and leaders from across the country explain how their centers distinguish themselves.

Q: How does your ASC distinguish itself?

Bruce Kupper
Bruce Kupper, CEO of MEDARVA Healthcare, Stony Point Surgery Center (Richmond, Va.).
We stand out because the surgeons, their needs and their patients are our main focus. In fact, when it comes to measuring patient care, we are measuring a 98 percent patient satisfaction level. Because of this, our physicians have a high level of confidence that we will treat their patients well and they will get the quality care that is expected. Consistent care and quality builds a surgeon's confidence in the overall experience that he and his patients will have. The final thing that differentiates us is our infection control rate, which is .0045 and it's something that's important to physicians that are considering surgeries here. 

Kathy Kelly
Kathy Kelly, RN, MSN, CNOR, administrator, Viewmont Surgery Center (Hickory, N.C)
. Viewmont Surgery Center does its best to communicate that it is a high quality, low cost option for patients. CMS has established that services offered by the center cost about 40 percent less than those done at local hospitals. The center, which is a multispecialty ASC, averages 300 to 400 cases a month done by 39 credentialed physicians. The center has a quality improvement committee that focuses on creating benchmarks based on patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction surveys take into account everything from wait time to the courtesy of the staff. Viewmont Surgery Center is currently above the national average for the percentage of patients willing to recommend the facility.

Dr. Keith Smith
Keith Smith, MD, administrator, Surgery Center of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City). We have put our prices online for all to see. This has endeared us to many in the business community as we are seen almost as partners working for solutions to the high prices of healthcare, rather than part of the problem. Our staff, each and every one, takes ownership in the success of the facility, working in a culture and environment they love.   Patients are extremely aware of how content our employees are and this translates into great patient care.

Joseph DeMarco
Joseph DeMarco, administrator, Jefferson Surgical Center at the Navy Yard (Philadelphia).
As the need for higher acuity cases continues to shift to the outpatient arena, we are challenged with providing same day surgery to the right candidates and managing their pain in the outpatient setting. We do this with pain pumps and a coordinated effort between anesthesia and our surgeons. Our approach to cut costs is to educate physicians on expensive disposables against more reasonably priced alternatives; but to ultimately allow them to makes the clinical decision as to which is best. Jefferson Surgical Center is also able to turn to its management company Nueterra for guidance in regulatory concerns, HR, risk management and any areas that contribute to a smoothly run ASC.

Tracey Harbour
Tracey Harbour, RN, BSN, administrator, Surgery Center of Pinehurst (N.C.)
. Our facility stands out because of the team of people we have working in the facility. We work hard to make people feel like a family member while at our facility. Our goal is to have excellent patient experiences with outstanding clinical outcomes. Many members of our team have worked together for years; our familiarity with each other keeps the center running smoothly. Another element which sets our ASC apart is that we are the only multispecialty center in the community. We continue to explore adding additional procedures to our ASC. Recently we added total joints and spine, and soon we will be adding total thyroids. As the needs of our community evolve, we want to ensure we are providing relevant procedures with excellent clinical outcomes.

Lucinda HayLucinda Hay, Managing Director, Center for Specialty Care (New York). On time starts, efficient room turnover and ease of scheduling allow the center’s physicians to benefit from enhanced efficiency resulting in the ability to treat more patients. The Center works hard to accommodate surgeon and patient schedules and even if a surgeon has only one case, we will fit that case in. The center’s billing department, registrar and clinical staff ensure that the appropriate insurance certifications are in place, the patient admission paper work has been completed and the patient is prepped and ready to go for an on-time start. We have a terrific group of anesthesiologists, Northeast Anesthesia, who are full time at the Center and an experienced staff that is involved at every level of operation.

Jeff WigtonJeff Wigton, director of operations, Central Maine Orthopaedics (Auburn). We distinguish ourselves in our market by having lower costs paired with a higher level of service. Our patients are in and out of surgery on time. We have done a lot of work on our Quality Assurance program in the last three years. Our surgery center has defined our benchmarks and place reaching them as a top priority. We opened in 2002 and are starting to mature as a center. We have had only two nurse managers since opening. Our current nurse manager has been with us for six years and plays an integral role in maintaining stability in day to day operations. We are able to build on things that work, such as our QA program, rather than reinventing basic center functions. 

Bill Hughes Bill Hughes, administrator, El Paso Day Surgery Center (Texas).
Our physicians and staff are the driving forces behind everything that make our center stand out. The physicians and staff always have a caring attitude towards the patients. The staff is cost conscious and thinks like owners, even with minor expenses. They work with our physicians to inform them of the cost of supplies and less expensive options. Another reason our physicians and staff make our center work well is their willingness to be flexible. Some days we are using all five of our operating rooms and some days we are using three. Our staff understands the need for flexing hours. The staff also demonstrates a willingness to learn. We have staff members asking about cross training and willing to attend outside seminars. One of our nurses just attended a national infection prevention conference and is preparing to in-service the staff.

Leslie CottrellLeslie Cottrell, associate administrator, Baptist Physicians Surgery Center (Lexington, Ky.). We are aligned with a large, tertiary acute care hospital which has a great community and regional brand. Our ASC is represented by outstanding employees who go above and beyond, to ensure a positive experience. The clinical care provider's level of experience and expertise support diverse patient acuity, procedures and specialties brought to our ASC. Maintaining over a 99 percent patient satisfaction rate for many years reflects our commitment to our mission and philosophy.

Evalyn ColeEvalyn Cole, administrator, Spine Surgery Center of Eugene (Ore.)
. We have had only two infections in six years of operations and zero infections in spine fusion surgeries. Hospital infection rates are 2 to 3 percent. In addition, our charges average 30 to 40 percent below local hospital charges for the same surgeries.

Mary Ellen Rider, administrator, Maryville (Tenn.) Surgery Center. Our surgery center excels in patient satisfaction. We create an atmosphere that makes patients feel at home and cared for on a one on one basis. Patient satisfaction surveys always return to us with rates in the high 90s; 99 to 100 percent of our patients report that they would return to our facility or recommend us to someone else. We have flexible staffing and encourage our staff members to contribute to a collaborative environment. Our center is always seeking ways to be cost conscious; we always take into consideration our supply value analysis.  Business, nursing and physician staff are all encouraged to participate in cost saving measures. We began storing our records electronically in 2007 and now scan all returning patients into the system.

More Articles on ASC Issues:
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5 Weekly Benchmarks for ASCs to Track
4 Challenges ASCs Face in Standardizing Infection Control

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