Surgical Care Affiliates' COO got into healthcare by accident — but stayed with intention

Jason Strauss is COO of Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates. Mr. Strauss told Becker's ASC Review about how he got his start in healthcare and what industry changes he's observed.

Note: Responses were lightly edited for style and clarity.

Question: Why did you choose to go into healthcare?

Jason Strauss: For me, getting into healthcare was more of an accident, while staying in healthcare has been intentional and purposeful. I always knew that making a positive impact on people on a daily basis was extremely important to me. I quickly discovered the healthcare industry allowed me to do that in a very meaningful way. I also like that I am working toward solving what I believe is our country's largest problem: the rising cost of healthcare.

Q: What has changed since you started your career in the industry?

JS: I've experienced two big changes, one personal and one professional. On a personal note, I started in the industry as an analyst working in a support function, and I did not understand how what I was doing could have an impact on patient care. That is, until a member of my family was given the wrong medication in the emergency room and it nearly took their life. It became very clear to me that no matter the role I play and how far away from direct patient care I may be, we all play a role in ensuring that our clinical teammates and physicians are best positioned to focus on caring for patients. On a professional level, what's most significant to me is the velocity of change I've seen across the country and the general awareness of ASCs by patients, health plans, and state and federal government leaders.

Q: What is the best piece of career advice you've been given?

JS: The best advice is two things that go hand-in-hand for me. The first came from my mom when I was growing up, who was always reminding me that I can always control my hustle, or the effort I put into something. The second is from Victor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, which states that no matter the circumstances, I can control my reaction to those circumstances.

Want to participate in future Q&As? Email Angie Stewart: astewart@beckershealthcare.com.

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