The best decision I've made this year: 9 ASC administrators discuss


With the end of 2015 almost upon us, nine ASC administrators reflect on the year gone by and the best decisions they made.

Jesseye Arrambide, RN, Executive Director, Outpatient Surgery Center, Tigard, Ore.: The most significant decision my center made this year was to outsource our billing to National Medical Billing Services. After a detailed audit, we decided there were many benefits to outsourcing. ICD-10 comes to mind! It has been an excellent decision, and we love having our expanded 'back office' of experienced, helpful professionals.

Jennifer Butterfield, MBA, RN, Administrator, Lakes Surgery Center, Bloomfield, Mich.: I put a strategic marketing plan together that capitalized on our center's recent upgrade to Alcon's Centurion, LuxOR and Verion systems. We purchased the systems for our current roster of ophthalmologists and then actively marketed ourselves as having the 'latest and greatest' for eyes. Through those efforts we successfully recruited three very busy ophthalmologists, which has been a game changer for our facility. We increased our ophthalmology from 25 percent of our business to almost 40 percent of our business, and I'm very close to recruiting two more surgeons. I wouldn't be surprised if by the middle of 2016 we have reached 50 percent of our business being ophthalmology related. We are growing in other service lines as well. In 2015, I've added surgeons to podiatry, plastics, orthopedics and urology. In those service lines, the new physicians are young so I am optimistic that our volume will grow as their practices grow.

Peggy Dibblee, ASC Director, The Portland (Ore.) Clinic: Training MA to do multiple tasks within the ASC. They assist in endoscopy, and they can help register patients at front desk, bring a patient into pre-op and start admit process of vital signs, DC an IV at the end of the day and take patients out to cars. The really good ones also help with pre-op calls and instructions. Invaluable! 

Tracey Harbour, RN, Administrator, Surgery Center of Pinehurst, N.C.: We are in the midst of very challenging times. My best professional decision thus far has been 'to stay the course.' Continue to improve on what the facility is doing well and make changes to areas of opportunities.
Angela Martin, RN, Administrator, Alliance Surgical Center, Lake Mary, Fla.: Taking our pre-admission process online with One Medical Passport was by far the best decision our center has made so far this year. Enabling our patients to complete their own pre-admission ahead of time has saved significant nursing time. Because One Medical Passport allows patients to complete their medical histories online, from their home with all necessary information on-hand, histories are much more accurate and complete. It is very user-friendly for both patients and our staff which has resulted in a very high compliance rate. Furthermore, because the system is cloud-based, there was no need to invest in expensive software. Our decision to bring pre-admissions online with One Medical Passport was definitely a great one.

Gurjeet Parmar, Executive Director, Gramercy Park Digestive Disease Center, New York: One of the best professional decisions that I made this year was to bring our billing in-house. We have used different third party billing companies in the past, but were never happy with the results. By bring the billing in-house, we have a much more organized billing system in place. Now, I get to review accurate billing reports on a timely basis. Another good decision made this year was to go in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Over the years, our center was out of network with BCBS, but our average reimbursement was getting lower and lower. By going in-network with BCBS we have had a steady cash flow.

Gary A. Richberg, RN, Administrator, Pacific Rim Outpatient Surgery Center, Bellingham, Wash.: I am going to say that one of the best decisions I made was to convince my ASC board president and other physician leaders to attend the Becker's ASC Conference. This allows them to meet with their peers in the ASC industry and also allows them to hear first-hand about challenges in our industry. I have attended both the spring and fall conference for many years and am deeply surprised by the low attendance rates of physician owners.
Either these owners know more about healthcare management and operations than us or they are not fully engaged. If more owners were engaged at a higher level, they could really help our industry rise up to meet the challenges of lower reimbursement and regulations that have hampered the progression of ambulatory surgery facilities on the national stage.
Kevin R. Stone, MD, Founder, The Stone Clinic, San Francisco: To expand my practice to outpatient total knees. I already do outpatient robotic partial knees with great success.

Shelley Yuva, Administrator, Slocum Surgery Center, Eugene, Ore.: Without a doubt, starting our ASC outpatient total joint program.

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