ASC staffing, budgeting and growth: Big trends from Sylvia Johns

Written by Laura Dyrda | May 02, 2019 | Print  |

Sylvia Johns, director of surgical services for Olympia (Wash.) Orthopaedic Associates, discusses the big challenges and opportunities for orthopedic surgery centers today.

Ms. Johns will share her expertise as a speaker at the Becker's ASC 26th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs, Oct. 24-26, 2019 in Chicago. To learn more and register, click here. For more information about exhibitor and sponsor opportunities, contact Maura Jodoin at 

Question: What is the biggest challenge for your orthopedic center today?

Sylvia Johns: The biggest challenge for our orthopedic surgery center is adapting to the increased volume of cases and staff burn out. Many orthopedic centers likely face similar issues. As our volumes have continued to shift from inpatient to outpatient we have continued to learn how to adapt to these changes. We have made a few adjustments to help us acclimate.

To sustain high morale and retain our long-standing team, we have adjusted schedules to allow a combination of 10-, 12- and eight-hour shifts. The staff have been pleased with the new changes and feel it allows for better work/life balance.

In addition, we have cross-trained our nursing team in various areas within the surgery center. Presurgical preparation, operating room circulator, post anesthesia care unit, and registered nurse first assistants have been trained to cover multiple areas.

Q: Where do you hope to grow for the next nine months?

SJ: As volumes continue to grow, we will continue to recruit top talent to support extended hours and Saturdays in the future.

Q: How do you approach budgeting and selecting new technology for your center?

SJ: Our surgery center has an ASC Business Committee which includes the medical director, the director of finance, our CEO and the director of surgical services. The primary purpose of this committee is to review and determine the business/financial needs of our center. Recommendations for budget and technology are presented to the governing body, which provides final approval for budget and spending.

Q: What are your biggest payer challenges today?

SJ: The biggest payer challenges we have faced include navigating the logistics under quality-based care models. We continue to create improved processes in collecting patient reported outcomes and creating meaningful reports to share with our provider teams. Over the last three years of collecting data we have learned various ways to engage clinical teams in the process, share the importance of responding to surveys with patients and analyze our data to improve outcomes.

More articles on surgery centers:
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