ASC leaders' secrets to success

Ten ASC leaders joined Becker's to discuss their secrets to success. 

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

John Martin, MD. Gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.):

  1. Second-to-none workplace culture
  2. Helping all staff feel valued, respected and appreciated — as individuals, and as a team
  3. Everything for the patient, all for the team is our culture: "The needs of the patient come first"
  4. Fair compensation for all physicians and staff and a meaningful benefits package for all
  5. Emphasis on high-quality care from all angles, not just measured by technical success; best-in-class tech and highly qualified caregivers, but also patient-centered care that considers patient convenience, comfort, respect, dignity, efficiency and transparency

Pankaj Vashi, MD. Chief of Gastroenterology/Nutrition Department and Vice Chief of Staff at Cancer Treatment Centers of America Chicago: I have been a gastroenterologist for over three decades. There is really no secret for my success. I have done what every physician should do — that is to spend time listening to your patients; be thorough, honest, compassionate; and provide the best care in a timely manner to all your patients. The healthcare system today incentivizes the physician only on volume and relative value units. I personally feel the incentives should also include quality, safety and patient satisfaction. Value-based care is also important to cut down the cost of healthcare in our country.

Julie Billingsley. Director of Patient Care Services for Orthopedics & Neurosciences at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and Lake Ridge Ambulatory Surgery Center (Woodbridge, Va.): One word: flexibility. If we've learned nothing else in the last few years, it's that change will remain a constant in our field. It's our job to make sure we continue to quickly adjust to whatever new challenge of the day/week/month we face. Our team has been exceptional at adjusting their sails with the shifting waves in healthcare.

Amber Mitchell, MD. Neurologist at Nuvance Health (Kingston, N.Y.): If you pick a field that interests you and you love, then you will be successful, and then it won't feel like it is a job. You can see yourself there in the future and that motivates you to persevere. If you pick a field for other reasons like money, then you might be disappointed, because you can never have enough money!

Christy Bray Ricks. Vice President of Provider Talent at Ardent Health (Nashville, Tenn.): Listening — seek first to understand the issue or concern, then collaborate with our stakeholders in order to best facilitate our desired outcome. Transparent and honest conversations about the difficulties facing not only our organization, but the country, as it relates to healthcare staffing shortages. Being an advocate for my team, our candidates and the communities we serve in order to save lives.

Alopi Patel, MD. Assistant Professor of the Department of Anesthesiology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York City): My secret to success is to stay persistent. If something is worth working hard for and building, then keep on going. There will be obstacles and it may take a long time, but persistence pays off. 

John Woodward Jr., MD, Orthopedic Surgeon at Orthopaedic Physicians of Colorado (Englewood): Always plan. Be prepared. Work hard. Work smart.  Be kind. Thank the people that help you to be successful.

Mark Mattar, MD. Director of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital's IBD Center (Washington, D.C.): My secret to success stems from the framework of transformational servant leadership. Leading in a successful GI practice in a health system as we come out of a pandemic brings its own special challenges. At the end of the day, we focus on the people. We prioritize patient care without compromising associate wellness. We work as a team to evaluate each of the provider's needs and how we can help them work toward our common mission. This isn't easy, but when you pay attention to the needs of the team and act on them, we all succeed.

Chris Blackburn, BSN. Administrator of South Kansas City SurgiCenter (Overland Park): I am an open book ... no secrets, but I hope my positive energy does help.

Mark Mineo. Director of the Millard Fillmore Surgery Center (Williamsville, N.Y.): Nothing replaces teamwork and hard work.

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