Why a Nebraska-based ASC continues to invest in staff and key plans for 2020

Brooke Day, administrator of Hastings (Neb.) Surgical Center, discusses how she is strategically planning for the next year, and what lies ahead.

Question: As you develop the center's budget for 2020, where do you plan to spend the most? What is changing year over year?

Brooke Day: Salaries and benefits are consistently our highest expense but our employees are our greatest asset so it is justified. The general public may not understand the importance of having competent staff to support the surgeon performing their surgery, but we realize the impact they can have on outcomes. The workforce is changing and competitive salaries along with adequate benefits are key factors to retaining staff.

We have a management agreement and the benefits provided to us on an annual basis are much more competitive than we would be able to offer on our own. Our employees understand the importance of this management agreement and are very supportive of the relationship we have with them. Salaries increase annually so we are constantly considering new service lines, new procedures and ways to decrease expenses.

Q: What do you expect to do more of in 2020, and what do you plan to leave behind?

BD: Healthcare does not seem to be a key priority for the current administration, so I am hoping for most of 2020 we remain consistent in the business we are doing. We are always monitoring the cases that do not generate income for the center, but we also believe the convenience to our surgeons is just as important as the revenue we make. We have done minimal pain management the last couple years and do not have any plans to actively recruit a physician to perform these procedures.

Q: What aspect of your ASC operations are you focused on improving the most next year?

BD: We are always interested in ways that we can improve or enhance our patient experience. We are hoping to renovate an office space into an extended stay recovery room with attached bathroom. This recovery area would be used for patients that we typically keep longer such as hysterectomies or tonsils, we could also use this space in the future if we decide to pursue outpatient total joints.

We are also planning things behind the scenes to improve the quality of care we are providing; we would like to invest significant capital this year in upgrading our sterile processing area. We have worked very closely with our Steris Representatives and our local contractors to renovate the space to not only meet current standards but be forward thinking in the cases we could be doing in the future with the shift from inpatient to outpatient care.

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