3 Stages of Surgery Center Growth Require Different Management Approaches

Tom Yerden, owner of TRY Health Care Solutions in North Fork, Idaho, says ambulatory surgery centers pass through three stages of growth, each requiring a different management style and even a different personality.


1. Start-up. The first 18 months of an ASC's life isfull of anxiety. You are, in a sense, a scrappy, pugnacious street fighter, without much time to philosophize. "You need to be an entrepreneur, a risk-taker with enormous energy," Mr. Yerden says. "Every dollar you take in and every physician you recruit affects your bottom line." At this stage he says ASCs should focus on building teams and recruiting doctors. You are immersed in day-to-day tactics and don't have much time to consider big-picture strategies.

2. Adolescence. In its first five or 10 years, the center is now has to consider remapping its course. You have become a face-painted warrior, relying on your courage and learning how to lead. "The mood is now we have a chance to do things better," Mr. Yerden says. "Maybe you need to go in a different direction with physician recruitment and get pickier about doctors you add." Now is also the time to enhance your IT systems.

3. Maturity. This stage is about soul-searching. You have stripped down to sandals and a robe and have become a seeker of truths. "Life has been good, but you have to deal with your own complacency," Mr. Yerden says. "You have to be humble. You can't just reaffirm how well you have done; you have to reassess what you are doing." You need to ask big questions like: Should we take on a promising specialty or dump a money-losing one? Should we resyndicate and sell more units to physicians? Should we partner with a hospital or management company? At this stage, "don't take anything for granted," Mr. Yerden says.


Learn more about TRY Health Care Solutions.


Read more about ASC development:


- 10 Observations and Predictions on the Surgery Center Acquisition Market


- Analysis of ASC Data Suggests a Mature ASC Market


- 6 Factors Affecting Current ASC Development

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