How to retain ASC staff: Administrator Lori Tamburo Martini weighs in

Lori Tamburo Martini is director of operations for the Foothills Surgery Center in Boulder, Colo. Here, she shares her ASC's business goals for this year, top challenges and more.

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.

Question: What is the biggest uphill battle you expect to face in 2020?

Lori Tamburo Martini: Our facility will be losing four of our highest volume surgeons, as they are building their own ophthalmology center. Mitigating that loss will be a challenge in 2020.

We have begun to identify new case types to bring to our facility with our existing surgeons, and we are also looking at creative ways to ensure that our volume budget will be met or exceeded. Physician recruitment and identifying referral sources for our surgeons will also be a top priority.

Q: What are your top two ASC business initiatives for 2020?

LTM: One of our primary business initiatives in 2020 is to improve staff turnover. We have multiple ways we plan to approach this. We have implemented a metric-based incentive plan, which has an eligibility requirement of one year. We have also asked our team to provide us with their top three job satisfaction areas from a list we created to ensure we are focusing our retention efforts where it will be impactful.

Another business initiative is to reduce unnecessary cancellations. We are providing additional education to our providers regarding our admission criteria to avoid scheduling of cases that are not eligible for an ASC. We are also more fully utilizing our patient engagement software to ensure that patients understand their instructions to avoid food and drink before their procedure.

We are in the process of creating a patient education sheet to include with the initial surgery packet to identify appropriate light meals and clear liquids. In addition to these steps, we are working toward increasing our lead time with patient health assessments. This will allow more time to obtain necessary medical clearances and lab work.

Q: What is the best management advice you've received?

LTM: I have received so much great advice over the years that it is difficult to choose the best. One piece of management advice that comes to mind is to be an active listener and to be present throughout my facility. It is so important for the team to know you are accessible and engaged. When your team feels you are invested in their success, they will perform better and be happier in their roles. Another great piece of advice is to always take ownership. This advice is from a book I read called Extreme Ownership, and I highly recommend it to all leaders.

More articles on turnarounds:
Compensation for ASC, hospital leaders — 5 things to know
New collaboration to back physician autonomy in system-dominated market — 4 insights
Sutter Health is using Lyft to improve ASC, hospital transportation — 4 key details

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