'A true model of collaboration': How 5 ASCs stand out

Five ASC administrators connected with Becker's to share what makes their respective practices unique.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity. If you would like to contribute to our next question, please email Paige Haeffele at phaeffele@beckershealthcare.com.

Question: How does your ASC stand out?

Crystal Aigner, BSN, RN. Administrator of Surgical Suites of Coastal Virginia (Williamsburg, Va.): Surgical Suites of Coastal Virginia opened in the fall of 2019. The experience of being a new center and working through COVID together created a cohesive team that truly cares about each other and the patient experience. Additionally, our medical director, George Heath, MD, is constantly researching and learning new anesthetic techniques that improve the overall patient experience including following total joint replacement. The support and affirmation that the staff receive from our physician owners is also key to staff engagement. Our net promoter score for the first quarter of  2023 was 96, a reflection of our staff and medical director's genuine desire to provide excellent care to each patient and their family.

Christine Blackburn, BSN, RN. Administrator of South Kansas City Surgicenter (Overland Park, Kan.): I am pretty sure every administrator thinks their ASC stands out, but I will share why I think ours does.

1. Our patient satisfaction scores are consistently higher than the national average.

2. Our staff retention rate is consistently high; for 2022 it was 94.2 percent.

3. All clinical staff are BLS, ACLS, PALS certified.

4. All board certified surgeons.

5. Our medical director is a pediatric-trained anesthesiologist. We do a ton of pediatrics here.

6. Our surgeon owners are very supportive of the staff and their needs.

7. I have a very active and engaged board of managers.

8. Room turnover rate is around 13 minutes, of course sometimes less. Caveat: We do not do total cases.

9. Our on-time first-procedure start is 100 percent most months.

10. Surgical site infections are low — last quarter was zero percent. We average around 300 cases per month.

11. We have an EMR (whew ... that was a ton of work) and tracker boards for patient flow in the lobby, families love this.

Essentially, our staff is what makes work a home, and we have a great work family and work home.

Cherise Brown. Administrator of Andover (Kan.) Surgery Center: Our employees are what makes Andover Surgery Center stand out. We have a lot of caring people, and it shows through their work. In management, generally you don't receive letters in the mail and phone calls from patients unless there is a problem. We've received many patient letters, cards, and I've received phone calls from patients expressing how impressed they were with our employees. 

Further, the center boasts of a team of highly qualified anesthesia providers (Kansas Anesthesia Providers) who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible patient experience. From preoperative counseling to postsurgical care, the team puts their patients' needs first, showing genuine concern and commitment.

We prioritize safety, cleanliness and comfort for patients. But at the end of the day, it's our employees that make us stand out. We have a group of people who went into healthcare for the right reason. They genuinely care about people.

Cathy McCue, MSN, RN. Administrator of Uropartners Surgery Center (Des Plaines, Ill.): We stand out in numerous ways.

The patients love us! We typically receive a 98 percent success rating on our patient satisfaction surveys. The patients always speak about how attentive, nice and knowledgeable our staff is. We are experts in urology care, as 99 percent of our patients come here for urology procedures. The other 1 percent are pain patients. Many times naming specific staff members. We keep our patient to staff ratio either 1-to-1 or 1-to-2 to make sure the patients are receiving excellent care the entire time they are with us.

The governing board reviews the latest research, so we keep the newest equipment on site so our patients receive the best technology. Unlike many ASCs, we do not purchase refurbished equipment. For example, we have Thulium lasers; these have only been on the market for about two years. We are currently reviewing two new procedures that if the research meets our gold standard, we will offer these procedures as well to our patients.

Many ASCs speak of trouble getting staff. We are completely staffed! Uropartners knows the value of excellent staff and we show them daily how much we appreciate them and value their contribution to Uropartners. In fact, we have a wait list of RNs that want to work here, but we do not have any openings.

Barbara Clancy-Sweeney. Administrator, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (Philadelphia): Our ASC stands out because it is a partnership and a true model of collaboration. Our physicians, nurses, support staff and administrators focus on what makes a great patient experience and then builds on those strengths. The patient and their family is at the center of all we do. We let the patient feedback drive our changes to create a better experience for them. We respond and engage quickly to their request. The result of all our efforts have been continual growth and patient satisfaction.

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