5 thoughts for a joint-venture ASC + key concepts for building a strong operational structure

Michael Patterson, president and CEO of Mississippi Valley Health in Davenport, Iowa, discusses the key aspects of a successful ASC joint venture.

Mr. Patterson will share his 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 mjodoin@beckershealthcare.com. 

Question: What is your best advice for ensuring hospitals and physicians form healthy ASC joint ventures?

Michael Patterson: Here are five thoughts for healthy joint ventures:

1. Set clear expectations going into the relationship as to what each party expects from the other.

2. Be open to change, especially those that improve the patient experience, fosters quality and strengthens the bottom line.

3. Encourage timely communication between the parties and don't just wait for board meetings to discuss issues or opportunities.

4. See the issue from each other's perspective — while these organizations are partners in the joint venture, they may also be friendly competitors; understand the nuances that go along with being a partner and a competitor.

5. Learn from each other and don't be afraid to ask for help when needed.

Q: What works well in terms of building a strong culture and operational structure for the ASC?

MP: Develop a strategic plan, ensure that your people are the foundation of that plan and invest time, resources and money into recruiting and keeping top performers.

Our leadership team encourages everyone to be 'owners' in the organization. We foster a culture in which we are all accountable for each other's performance. We manage up and practice servant leadership. This is very important.

We conduct monthly [meetings with] all employees and have some very specific questions we ask of each person. In addition, we conduct 90-day performance appraisals: what that means is that every 90 days we sit down with our employees and jointly establish goals for the coming 90 days. It keeps us moving forward.

We conduct employee forums three to four times a year and are very transparent with our performance. We include our progress towards our strategic plan goals, new opportunities, financial performance and opportunities for improvement.

We have a scorecard that is updated monthly and posted for all employees, which includes quality, operational, patient satisfaction, financial targets and our results. We want to report this info in a timely manner as to ensure everyone knows how we are doing and if we need improvements in key areas of the scorecard.

The leadership team is expected to be very visible with patients, family and staff. We celebrate our wins and we learn from our mistakes. We recognize that our biggest asset is the people that work in our facilities. We offer continuing education opportunities, off-site retreats and encourage advanced certifications in their area of expertise.

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